Furness Youth Theatre
Directed by Chris Loveless
Furness Youth Theatre, under the directorship of Chris Loveless, has been extremely brave this year.
The company could have chosen a safe, established youth production, but instead went with, and showed faith in, a local writer and musical talent, Elisabeth Greaves with her completely new and untried work, Timecopter.
I attended on the last night of this ambitious show to find understudy Rhiannon Clark playing the part of Merlin owing to the original wizard being taken ill.
Standing in last minute is a daunting enough task even for an adult but Rhiannon rose to the task superbly and must be congratulated.
When entering the auditorium, we were greeted with an open stage complete with caretakers cleaning up the classroom, Although I would think their pretend drinking and smoking, which didn’t settle well with me, I must admit, would have contravened the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Timecopter centres around the last day at school of favourite teacher, Miss Daiken, played with great authority by Jess Bailey. She has brought in her Grandad’s time machine (the Timecopter) and proceeds to take her eager pupils, Rocky (Marina Bailey), Rose (Maisie Wilcocks), Mattie (Anna Lapengue), Cody (Ben Thomas), Logan (Noah Jepson), and not forgetting Titch (Will Jones-Barnes) backwards and forwards in time.
All the pupils played their parts to the full, and must be commended. I particularly liked Anna, as Mattie. She has that gift of good stage presence, and she is one to watch in the future.
The first half saw our intrepid gang transported to Camelot where they were met by Scand, played with some nice comic touches by Rhodri Silcocks.
King Arthur and Guinevere were played with great enthusiasm by Matthew Bedford-Tyson and Juliette Winter.
In fact, the whole of Arthur’s court was a joy to watch with its enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment.
My review of the first half would not be complete without a mention of the super fiery cake-loving dragon.
The second half saw us transported forward in time to 2173, and the threat of a meteor hurtling towards earth.
This is a futuristic world where no one talks, and only communicates via a wrist phone.
The standout performance in this half was Angel Young, as the Robot Iona. Her solo “Live It Forever” was delivered beautifully and with a lot of feeling.
Again, the ensemble delivered an enthusiast performance, but I felt this futuristic part of the show lacked the impact of the first half.
I must applaud the onstage musicians who were all made up of Furness Youth theatre members.
My one niggle was the lack of MD at the front. The position side stage meant music cues were missed and occasionally some numbers went out of time.
But all in all, a very enjoyable evening. Congratulations to Elisabeth Greave on what will be I’m sure the first of many of her collaborations.
Thank you to Chris Loveless and Furness youth theatre for a very enjoyable evening.