On wednesday night at the British All-Winners Drama Festival, sponsors Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation (DC) hosted a reception for all the participants at the festival.
Director, Sonny Crouch spoke of the importance of nurturing and supporting the arts as part of the regeneration principle.
Members of the DC then joined others to sit down and watch three one-act plays.
Review by Luke Coldham
Wednesday night’s performances were that from the youth groups, and what an absolute treat the evening was. The Theatre was delightfully crammed with supporters, and the reception was superb. Thurrock Operatic Society gave us a treat with some tremendous singing in the foyer, the box office was non stop, and lots of dignitaries huddling round the canapés. The Festivities were truly in bloom.
The Evening kicked off with a wonderful bunch of youngsters from Manchester – The Hyde Little Theatre group with “Round the world with class 6” by Nick Warburton.
The play started with an open curtain revealing a basic classroom set with tables and chairs and then the fun began. A group of young children at a normal day of school break through the walls of boredom by turning their classroom set into a pirate ship, and decide to sail around the world. With many comical moments, fantastic and appropriate sound and lighting – we were definitely all aboard the “Golden Hind”.
Travelling through heavy high sea storms, turbulent waters and fierce weathers the show certainly received a splashing result. There was many laugh out loud moments, such as the littlest cast member proving a point that the world wasn’t flat by swimming around the entire Stage.
We were all joyfully singing along with “Yo Ho and up she rises” up until the crew set sail for home and back to the beginning of the play, where we leave childhood fantasy and back to boring reality.
A true sense of teamwork and ensemble was clearly evident from this group and unquestionably deserved their positive comments from the adjudicator. A play that was full of friendliness, fantasy and fun. Thank you for a delightful innocent night of theatre – Hyde Little Theatre group.
Next up we had Young Kvods with “Rags to Riches” by Richard Roberts. I was particularly looking forward to seeing this production on stage, due to the plays fun sounding content. The show came across as an Avenue Q / Cabaret mini musical with glamorous costumes, Tap dance routines and spectacular show stopping moments. “Rags to Riches” is an every day costume hire shop, but with a twist – When the shop doors are shut, the costumes come to life and magical, comical and eventful scenarios occur. In this fantasy world we are enraptured with crazy wonderful characters who are all suspects of a murder; the weapon – Red wine, absolutely impossible to get out. Each character played a costume with a different type of Material, from silk to mixed wool, and Detective Sherlock played by a well performed young actor was sent in to solve to crime.
The whole cast was outstanding and the level of talent and ability was definitely well placed to be in the all winners final. Not a single moment could I take my eyes off of the stage. I was gripped to the edge of my seat ready for the next gag; musical moment and watching the story unveil. As every fun comedy should end on a good note, we most certainly did.
There was had a wedding, evil got its comeuppance, and they all lived happily every after. As for the comments from the adjudicator: nothing but praises, and great commendation to the actors and crew. For those of you who did not see this, you truly missed out a wonderful performance from Young Kvods. Once again, well done and thank you.
Last but not least we had – Woking College Theatre Company with “The Underground Lovers” by Jean Tardieu. I did not know what to expect from this group as when I asked them what the play was about before the performances, they replied “…erm…love?…its quite abstract”. Through out the entire 40 minutes of the performance I could not make heads or tails what the story was about, where I was suppose to be looking, or what exactly was happening. The dialogue was neither understandable nor readable, and unfortunately came across to many audience members as – what can only be described as inscrutable. The set was very basic and consisted of boxes which they manoeuvred around the stage to represent different locations.
However, for the last 25 minutes of the piece we were all stuck on, what appeared to be a train. On the other hand the actual actors themselves were at a very high standard and stood out against what appeared to be a very hard piece of text. It is a shame that it got the ill response it did, not only from the audience but partly from the adjudicator. I always say, if I leave the theatre with absolutely nothing to say about the piece then it’s just hasn’t worked for me. Nevertheless, it was a pleasure to have them involved in the festival. It’s not just about having a great show, but having a great cast and crew to go along with it, and this group certainly had that. Many thanks to Woking College Theatre Company; we definitely enjoyed your company.
~ Youth Awards ~
Young Kvods with “Rags to Riches”
WINNER OF YOUTH SECTION – The NDFA Trophy
Hyde Little Theatre group with “Round the world with class 6”
MOST PROMISING YOUTH PARTICIPATION AWARD – The Buxton Trophy