Official Reviews

The Grimm Tales 2015 Official Review

I was expecting a dark and sinister retelling of these well-known fairy tales by the ever popular Buxton REC. What I saw instead was a fantastically funny romp through some of Grimm’s finest! What a talented cast of young people. The opening was really cute as the smallest members came on stage and brought it to life. From that moment on, it was more fun than the fair on the market place!

The audience were laughing out loud in many places of this charming piece. The golden goose scene was particularly hilarious with some wonderful, well delivered lines.

The whole piece had a homemade feel to it with the cardboard props and the simple costumes. It made you really warm to the performers and their determination to make the best out of these items. The forest was a good idea as it grew and came to life and the younger members worked well together to carry this off.

I loved the idea of surgery scene in Little Red Cap; just let the lovely young ladies who were holding the screen know the best way to hold it to get the creepiest effect. I would like to see transitions tightening up and more confidence to not worry when things go slightly wrong…the audience doesn’t know what’s supposed to happen!

The acting was good across the board. However, I do have to give a special mention to a couple of the actors who multi-role played with skill and a huge sense of élan. Daniel Walton played a most marvellous Hare whose gesture and voice showed a great sense of comedy; he also appeared to delight in the role of the wolf! Aidan Rhode was a natural comic actor, his portrayal of Mrs Hedgehog, Grandma and Rumpelstiltskin were all faultless (one to watch in the future I feel!)

All in all, a lovely piece of drama by an enthusiastic young cast. Well done to one and all.

10th &11th July at 5.30 Arts Centre Studio

By Jayne Marling

Ash Girl 2015 Official Review

The Ash Girl is a dark retelling of the classic fairytale Cinderella, told with a backdrop of a world shrouded in monstrosity –literally. We see Ash Girl (Ashie), played by Robyn Edgar, struggle through the torment of her step sisters, the pressure of growing up that all three girls receive from her step-mother, and the constant persuasion of Sadness attempting to end her life. A spark of hope comes in the form of the fairy whose survival relies on Ashie believing in herself, who sends her to the ball where she falls for the foreign Prince. But that isn’t the end of it…

Initially, I was apprehensive about this play being a condensed version given that it is typically two hours long. However, I did also have high expectations as REC Youth Theatre Company are Fringe regulars whose performances are often well received. Given this, I was impressed by most of it but disappointed by facets.

The smaller cast of nine did an incredible job with such a challenging script. Timberlake Wertenbaker does not shy away from strong characters and they accomplished this however, at times the actors seem to be drowning under the pressure of delivering a Wertenbaker text.

This does not apply to everyone. Ellie Burke was not the lead character, but she was the one that consistently commanded the stage. The air in which she presented her characters was controlled and mesmerising, and for a teenager to assert herself as not one, but two strong characters is an incredible achievement, particularly when professionalism was definitely lacking from certain cast members. Robyn Edgar also deserves individual praise. Her beautiful portrayal of Ash Girl creates an empathetic audience thanks to her wonderfully realistic characterisation of a downtrodden girl looking for a glimmer of hope. Another standout was James Chetwood. His stupendous articulation and energy every time he came onto the stage was incredible, even when he barely spoke as Boymouse; and the scenes with him and Burke as Amir and Zehra respectively were electrifying.

In spite of the individual mentions, the company shone as an ensemble, working well together to create an entertaining production. Diction was lost in places and the all important ‘no backs to the audience’ rule was forgotten at times, but these are minor in the grand scheme of what is an impressive show.

Director, Kitty Randle has created an incredible production. How the cast have managed to utilise the multi-rolling, the minimalist costuming, and set restrictions is a credit to her. Whilst it isn’t the best production at the Fringe, it is definitely not one to miss.

By Jessica Millott


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