ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE by Russ Tunney Directed by Chris Loveless Furness Youth Theatre It is hard to believe that it has been a covid induced 3 years since I last enjoyed a Furness Youth Theatre production. ‘The Wolves of Willoughby Chase’ is the complete opposite of their last offering, ‘Time Copter’, but no less enjoyable. The Joan Aiken classic has been adapted for the stage by Russ Tunney, with a couple of songs thrown in. One of which was to the tune of Paradox, from the Gilbert & Sullivan classic operetta The Pirates of Penzance. Simple but clever staging sets the scene and helps the play move along at a good pace. The eerie opening scene set the mood of the piece, with the wolves howling as we meet Sylvia and Mrs Grimshaw on their train journey to the Willoughby estate. In the original novel Mrs Grimshaw is a Mr, but this no way detracts with a solid performance from Ava Martin setting the scene perfectly with her spooky tales. Sylvia played by Malika Taylor is travelling to join her cousin Bonnie, whose parents are missing, presumed drowned after a sea voyage. Bonnie, played by Maddy Backhouse and Malika Taylor as Sylvia are the two outstanding performances in this production. They worked so well together with clear well-paced dialogue, which leads me to my first little moan. Dialogue from some of the smaller roles was rushed which at times made it difficult to follow. Back to the positives: upon arrival at the estate they are met by new governess, Miss Slighcarp who is not very nice to the girls and staff, to put it mildly. She is played with great gusto and energy by Ruby Marvin. Other honourable mentions must go to Noah Jepson as Simon; wellacted with some nice comic moments, and Doris Carrick, as Mrs Brisket,