Talented Worcester youngsters take a roundabout ride back to the golden age of musicals with a spectacular production of Carousel at the Swan Theatre this week.

The Rodgers and Hammerstein 1945 classic is given the full WODYS treatment, filling the stage with the youthful exuberance and energy of a 50-strong cast of singers and dancers aged from eight to 18.

There are some time-honoured songs scattered through this tale of romance, robbery and redemption set in a New England port around the start of the 20th century.

It’s centred around charming chancer and fairground barker Billy Bigelow, a quality performance by Charlie Raven, and his troubled penniless relationship with Julie Jordan, played by the excellent Ella Holland, who both sing If I Loved You splendidly.

Fired from his carousel job, his efforts to provide for his family lead him to fall in disastrously with dodgy crook Jigger, menacingly played by Carter Chilton. In contrast, the marriage of Julie’s friend Carrie Pipperidge (Phoebe Jones) to the staid but stable fledgling businessman Enoch Snow (Ben Sears) is a complete romantic contrast - their duet of When The Children Are Asleep is a highlight here.

The town’s matriarchal figure Nettie Fowler, who organises the clambakes and tries to help the townsfolk through their tough life is played by 15-year-old Isabelle Mann, whose powerful voice and stage presence would be the envy of a musical theatre veteran twice her age, particularly with her solo of You’ll Never Walk Alone.

The choreography and the dancing is a delight, notably in a balletic sequence from Rebecca Stephens as Louise, and there’s also a first for WODYS with a video backdrop, used sparingly and to great effect.

If you’re looking for an escape from the gloom, a trip on the colourful Carousel with some future stars could be just the ticket.

It runs until Saturday (August 5).