Students tackle tough topics through theatre | Photos

Crowds of friends, family and theatre fans headed to the latest production from the Margaret River SHS upper school drama students last week.

The talented cast of student actors tackled often confronting subjects including suicide, racism, sexism, bullying, violence and country town isolation throughout the performance.

Director and Head of Arts, Mem McCormack praised the efforts of her students and saved special thanks for Tyrell McKenzie Roe, who returned to Margaret River from Broome to perform the role of Jasper Jones.

"[Tyrell's] gentle charisma has made him a joy to work with," Ms McCormack said of the young actor's first time on the stage.

"I want to congratulate Zhengyang 'Jack' Zhao. Getting a student who is new to Australia from China to play a Vietnamese boy in 1965 who has a passion for cricket - and swearing - was a big ask, I know.

"We have so loved watching Jack create his comical portrayal of Jeffery Lu."

Ms McCormack said the script, adapted by Kate Mulvaney from Craig Silvey's novel of the same name, was the most challenging of her 30 years of teaching.

"I read this novel, saw this film, watched the play and cried for Jasper and Laura Wishart, both victims of a society that silenced children and protected their abusers.

"My love of this story has brought it to this stage and I am very grateful to my students for answering this big ask!"

The role of Jasper Jones' friend Charlie Bucktin was shared by three talented young actors - Remy Castan, Mitchell Cook and Dillon Sharwood.

The three boys rotated through the role as the performance progressed, often seamlessly moving between scenes and maintaining the audience's attention in some of the most confronting scenes.

Jay Evans was haunting as the ghost of Laura Wishart, while Banjo Caruana-Butler and Mekyja Jenkins also shared the role of Laura's younger sister, the dreamy and troubled Eliza.

The production combined the lilting vocals of Caruana-Butler, Jenkins and Maya Robinson, with stunning harmonies filling the newly opened HEART studio performance space.

Sarah Langlois took on the role of tightly wound and bitter Mrs Bucktin, paired with her laconic and seemingly disinterested husband (Elijah Stanlake).

Young bullies Warick (Khi Richardson) and Clarry (Charlie Flintoff) were both startlingly aggressive and threatening, with shades of comedy in their brash and mindless interactions with their peers.

James Ransley delivered a convincing performance as the womanising police officer presiding over the violent attacks on Jasper.

Cael Boylan appeared in Act Two as Mad Jack Lionel, his face lined with age and bearing the weight of decades of secrets.

Boylan and Cook's 'fight scene' was a highlight of the production drawing laughs and cheers from the audience as the clouds began to break on the tougher issues covered in the play.

Narrators Maddison Hibbert, Kristen Hibbert, Noa Ellliot, Eden Bradstreet along with Robinson and Evans kept the story moving and provided valuable insight, before a soaring version of 'Que Sera, Sera' by the entire cast had attendees joining in for an uplifting final bow.

Photos: Nicky Lefebvre