A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
Shakespeare's greatest and best loved comedy brought to life in a 18th Century threshing barn.
The production was a lively, physical rendering of Shakespeare's ubiquitous imaginings. The lovers thrown pell-mell into the chaos surrounding Oberon's rage against his Fairy Queen, Titania.
Continuing the company's commitment to giving Young Theatre members the opportunity to work with professionally trained actors, the Mechanicals were a group of diffficult schoolchildren under the watchful, and occasionally twitching, eye of Miss Quince.
Performed to packed houses, the production delighted all who came. Directed by Mark Oldknw and lit by Ben Krebs.
A dark and disturbing piece of theatre from the pen of Jane Shepard. Two women held in a life-threatening situation and the mind games they play to keep one another alive. Held in a room and chained apart, their only currency is words, and balance of power is everything when a single word becomes the hanging point between life and death.
Entered for the local Festivals it won Henley Festival, came second at Maidenhead and won Best All-Female at both. At Henley both actresses won Best Actress for their riveting performances. The set was a simple grey box, lit only with 2 flourescent tubes, at Maidenhead Best Stage Presentation was added to the haul of trophies.
Continuing the company’s intimate productions of Shakespeare, King Lear performed at The Beacon Centre and the went on to an 18th Century threshing Barn in South Bucks.
A keen and intelligent cut drove the narrative of the story with pace and energy. The two fathers' stories were given equal weight in, what turned into, a taut thriller. An exceptional cast was assembled from the best of local amateurs, and members of The Young Theatre. They were joined by a quintet of professionally trained actors who worked, as would be expected, to support their fellow cast.
The show was lit by Ben Krebs (the Group Director) with great sensitivity, enhancing the simple set and period costumes. It looked and felt wonderful.
The production played at The Beacon Theatre and then at Glory Farm Barn.
AN INSPECTOR CALLS
Following on from the company's first venture, Hamlet in 2007, there came JB Priestley's classic thriller, An Inspector Calls. The National Theatre's stunning production had rather redefined expectations around this complex play, and Oldknow's simple and haunting production stripped the play to its bare bones.
As with Hamlet, An Inspector Calls asks much of its younger performers, taking them on a tough and emotional journey. Their performances were uniformly excellent, drawing praise from audience members, and their professional colleagues.
A simple set, once more beautifully lit, provided a backdrop to the high drama on stage. On the cyclorama a pair of eyes became more and more visible through the action, Daisy Renton looking down on her tormentors; and then in the last painful scene where the family tears themselves apart, stark white up light, showing every flaw. Music came from Goreki String Quartets and The Shropshire Lad.
Oldknow's stunning production pared back the text to focus on the central narrative. The cut brought the play in at a shade over two hours and lost none of the poetic majesty of Shakespeare's masterpiece.
The production brought together professionally trained actors with members of The Young Theatre, past members of both The Young Theatre and Wycombe Swan Youth Theatre, and local amateur actors. The ensemble worked in a comparatively short time, investigating the text and bringing it into the rehearsal space with a great sense of play and imagination.
Simply designed, the performances were supported by an atmospheric lighting plot and haunting score from composer Eleni Karaindrou's The Trojan Women. Audience were captivated by the production and gave the cast a lengthy standing ovation at the final performance
Beth Eyre went on to train at DSL and now works in the London fringe. Joe Eyre graduates from Guildhall in July 2014, having re-visited Hamlet in his 3rd Year.