THEY sure don't make school musicals like they used to.
Forget cardboard cut-out props, static hand-painted back-drops, and sharing two hand-held microphones among the lead characters.
Charlton Christian College, at Fassifern, has shown how school musicals are done in 2019 with its production of the Disney favourite The Little Mermaid.
This is a big production - in every sense of the word.
There are 50 principal and ensemble cast members, while 200 Kindy to year 4 students join the cast for several scenes including Kiss the Girl, Les Poissons with Chef Louis, and Under the Sea.
And to borrow from the show's nautical theme, the production has been a case of all hands on deck.
"This production has been special in that ex-students and staff have joined us once again in roles such as costuming, make-up and backstage," the school's creative arts director Tammy Perrim said.
"In total, we have over 300 students and 100 staff and parents bringing it all together.
"Musicals bring everyone together, it really is a community event."
There's a lot to take in - and to like - about this production.
The set design, lighting, costumes and visual effects are outstanding.
I would happily have accepted the sailing ship to have been a two-dimensional outline of a boat held by hand and walked onto the stage with sailors shuffling behind. Instead we got a magnificent timber vessel that glided through the foggy ocean and onto the stage with sailors on board tending the sails.
"The incredible ship which was one of the main stage set pieces was designed by our musical director, Dan East, and one of our talented parents, Anton Gross, spent many tireless hours building it," Ms Perrim said.
And the scene where Prince Eric falls overboard and sinks to the seabed was a credit to all involved (see pictures).
The performances were similarly impressive, with each of the principal cast members enjoying moments that had young audience members captivated, and older audience members smiling.
Principal Mark Ash said school musicals had become a key part of the college calendar.
"The college is well known for consistently astounding its audiences with the energy, joy and standard of its performances," he said.
Students auditioned for the show in August last year, and rehearsals began in September. It all culminated in four performances of the show.
The final performance will be tonight (Thursday) but it is sold out.