Esme Laidlaw

Esme Laidlaw

VIDEO: Nanaimo District Secondary School actors shake up Port Theatre

Musical comedy, All Shook Up, features the hits of Elvis Presley and shows in Nanaimo Feb 23 and 24.

The lives of residents living in a small mid-western town get shook up when a mysterious stranger rides in on his motorcycle.

Dancing and music is outlawed and Mayor Matilda and Sheriff Earl keep everyone in check. The stranger, Chad, a guitar-playing drifter, encourages dancing and music. Chad also triggers a series of romantic relationships that come with their own set of complications.

The story is told in the musical comedy All Shook Up, being presented by the NDSS Theatre Company. All Shook Up, by Joe DiPietro, is set in the 1950s and filled with Elvis Presley’s music. The musical is based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and takes some modern inspiration from the movie Footloose.

The play stars Esmé Laidlaw as Natalie/Ed, Ty Fraser as Chad, Brennen Silk as Jim Haller, Aléka Zamora as Sylvia, Chamberlan Teghtmeyer as Miss Sandra and others.

Fraser, who starred as Shrek in last year’s play Shrek: the Musical, said his character is a roustabout who roams from town to town.

“He goes into this town and music and dance is outlawed, so he goes in there and starts to fix that and he starts inpiring love in different couples and finds love himself,” said Fraser.

Laidlaw’s character Natalie transforms into Ed with Chad’s arrival.

“My character starts out as Natalie. She works for her dad fixing motorcycles and then Ty’s character Chad comes to town and she falls in love with him, but the only way to get close to him is to become his best buddy,” said Laidlaw about her characters.

“So she takes on the role of Ed and that creates a bit of trouble because some problems come with the Ed character and nobody knows where Natalie is.”

Silk stars as Jim Haller Natalie’s father.

“He’s a single man whose wife died three years previous to the time setting of where this musical takes place. Throughout the entire play he’s been trying to find someone to fall in love with,” said Silk.

Fraser, Laidlaw and Silk hope to pursue studies in theatre after they graduate from high school.

Zamora’s character is a single mom.

“She’s rough around the edges but she’s tough,” said Zamora. “Her heart is really guarded. She doesn’t want to feel love towards anyone anymore … She is really just focusing on her career. She owns the bar the Honky Tonk.”

Zamora said Sylvia is a very strong woman and she admires how the character is very independent.

Laidlaw said it’s a “really cool opportunity” to perform at the Port Theatre, especially because she is planning to study theatre in university.

“It’s fun and people can sing along. It’s very high energy so it’s definitely a family fun kind of event,” said Laidlaw.

All Shook Up, a new musical comedy, shows Feb. 23 and 24 at 7 p.m. at the Port Theatre.

Tickets are $20 available in advance by calling 250-754-8550 or by visiting


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