By: Chantel Ouellet

Photo Credits: Hart HouseCarrie, the ’80s cult classic Stephen King novel and subsequent film, epitomizes all that is gory, gross and horror. Musicals, on the other hand, typically invoke feelings of simplicity, wonder and merriment. So what happens when you take King’s infamous work and turn it into a musical? As it turns out, you get a gripping tale about female friendship, adolescence and the dark nature of bullying.

Hart House Theatre’s production of Carrie: The Musical provides a modern and reinterpreted version of the story. It is set in a modernized world where mean girls and boys now have cell phones and the internet to magnify their bullying. A truly scary concept. As in the original story, Chris Hargensen, the mean girl in school, acts as the ringleader ruling over the rest of her classmates. Chris’s insecurities fuel her behavior, eventually prompting her and her boyfriend, Billy Nolan, to seek revenge on Carrie, which in turn prompts quite literally all hell to break loose. Throughout the unfolding of the story, Sue Snell and Tommy Ross act as the voices of reason trying with all their might to remedy the situation before it gets any worse.

The show’s most outstanding performance unexpectedly came from Brittany Miranda, who played Margaret White, Carrie’s mother. Miranda brought an entirely convincing and emotional aspect to a difficult role. You could see the hatred and sadness in her eyes at different times throughout the show. And her voice, oh her voice, it ebbed and flowed between strong, packed with emotion, scared and vulnerable.

Tiyana Scott, who played Carrie White, projected strong character growth, changing her demeanor, stance, tone and volume as Carrie found her own voice, confidence and in turn, power. The casting was on point with the mother-daughter duo, but also with Sarah D’Cunha, who stepped in to perform a remarkable duet with Ryota Kaneko. The dance showcased the abusive relationship Margaret had with Carrie’s father and provided insight into her abusive nature.

Hart House Theatre’s performance of Carrie: The Musical showed that they are not afraid to use difficult topics and language to tell a story. The musical had equal parts emotional drama and humor. The comedic relief provided by Chris helped to keep the musical from being too serious or depressing. All in all it was a wonderful production that relied heavily on an extremely talented cast and it paid off.Catch Carrie: The Musical at Hart House Theatre now through Saturday, February 4.

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