Shore Talent Quest Reveals Depth of Local Flair

Posted by on Nov 16, 2011 | 2 Comments

The Speculator was delighted to attend the finals of the inaugural Shore Talent Quest at The Vic over the weekend, along with around 130 other Devonport locals.

We filled out The Vic to witness the next wave of talent to come through the local army of music and dance tutors. And it would probably be fair to say that the audience was generally astonished at the eclectic range of skills on show.

From a young girl performing a solo classical piece on the trumpet to the Chess Countess performing a mashup of opera and rap, the menu of acts provided a fascinating insight into what other people’s children have been getting up to out of school hours.

The one overwhelming impression from watching the  performers is an obvious one; their passion. If you are having to frogmarch a pouting little Johnny to his bassoon lessons, it may be time to accept that his expression is not him simply practicing his embouchure, but perhaps reflects a deeper malaise. Because the kids who enjoy what they do are so obvious – at least to the neutral observer.

There were four winning positions up for grabs; one in each age group (Junior up to 12, Intermediate 13 to 18 and Adult 18+) and one overall winner.

The winners were as follows;

Junior: The Feile Dance School

Intermediate: Ana Renke-Darby

Adult: Alexander Adlam

OVERALL: Ana Renke-Darby

The Speculator thought Cam Paget and perhaps the Chess Countess were unlucky not to win something, but unfortunately both were up against a mesmerising performance from talented dancer Alexander Adlam in their age group, who really was the show stealer.  In the judges’ words; “Alexander Adlam was a stand out winner. He came back (from the heats) with a harder, cleaner act and a fresh costume – he could be on a music video/production tomorrow. Global act he could keep perfecting. Audience loved him.”

The Speculator has always been a keen follower of modern dance, and in watching Adlam was reminded of some of the most extraordinary performers it has seen; the likes of Marie Chouinard and Sankai Juku, although unfortunately Adlam’s performance was too brief to fully assess his potential.

While the judges are absolutely correct that he could appear in a music video tomorrow, one gets the sense that with the help of a good mentor, Adlam could find himself among the top of his profession in ten years’ time.

Ballet dancer Ana Renke–Darby apparently checked out the theatre during the week and then proceeded to dance en pointe on a raked (tilted) stage (after being in pumps for the heats). The judges; “She is a rising star, fully engaged with audience and shone.” Her commitment to perform to the limit is probably what swayed the judges in their decision for overall winner.

On the night, the juniors ended up as a contest between Emerald Jackson and The Feile Dance School, with Mollie Cornfield being disrupted by the wrong accompanying music initially being played and Poppy Ross being a little static. The judges again; “The Feile Dancers were in fierce competition with Emerald Jackson, but they were extremely engaging and did a better job on the day.”

Excepting the belief that Alexander Adlam had done enough to claim the overall winner position, The Speculator thought the judges got it pretty much right, and felt for the two other talents in the adult section who missed out. Go Cam and Chess Countess!! However, the judges had of course seen the performers twice; “We could see the stand out stars who stepped up from last week and met the challenge of a competition.”

The inimitable David Slack effortlessly MC’d the evening to its natural conclusion, including a couple of his own little cameos. The Speculator’s personal favourite was his nod to the works of John Cage; most notably the piece for piano known as 4’33”. This interesting work involves four minutes and 33 seconds of complete silence, which is only slightly longer than the period the normally omnipotent Slack allowed for his no-show between two of the acts. It initially seemed extremely unlikely that he had been delayed at the bar, until his second cameo suggested otherwise.

His second cameo was the old classic; the “‘I’m Not Really Drunk’ Stumble” which he performed on the stage steps, and in which he exhibited excellent back flex. This combined with the difficult “double kowtow finish” extracted a smattering of applause from the more artistically sophisticated members of the audience.

Big Ups to Rotary for organising the event; let’s hope it becomes a regular fixture in the Devonport social calendar.


  1. Bond says:

    Nice review old Chapulator, but your title is a bit ambiguous, suggesting some kind of talent nadir. Is this tongue-in-cheek, or code, or have you just been at the martinis?

  2. PS says:

    How great is this? An in depth review of a local arts event! Absolutely superb. Thanks Speculator.

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