Tonight, the Players Youth Theatre took us on a charming journey of nostalgia back to the years of the second World War: rationing, evacuees, Air Raid Wardens and keeping calm and carrying on - with a good old sing song.
Devised and directed by Barbara Harris, this is a show which centres around a wartime wedding but we also get a glimpse of how life had to carry on as normal but with a very healthy (unrationed) portion of humour along the way.
Tonight's performers did themselves proud. It can't be easy immersing yourself into 1940s culture when you were born after 2000 but they absolutely threw themselves into it heart and soul and encouraged us all to sing along with them to wartime classics such as "The Siegfried Line" and "The White Cliffs of Dover". I thought this was a nice touch and it certainly went down well with the audience.
Paddy Bever opened the show by storming through the auditorium as an outraged Air Raid Warden, telling us to "put that light out". If I'd had a light to put out, I would have done it immediately!
The show is made up of short scenes - the first one being in an air raid shelter. I must congratulate Natasha Dunn as Jean Taylor who played her role as a no-nonsense northern wife and mother really well. It seemed to come very naturally to her and I found her very enjoyable to watch.
A special mention must go to Padraig McCormack and Li Chow who were in the next scene as evacuee brothers. Their interaction and conversation with each other (which developed into a schoolboy scuffle) was hilarious and so well acted!
The scene in the factory with six aproned and headscarved women was excellently done. Their conversation was well measured and realistic and I loved the way they interacted with each other. They sang and did the actions to "The Thingummy Bob" but what I would say to them is: Ladies! Have more confidence when you sing - you look fabulous but you just lack a little of the oomph that you have when you're doing the speaking roles.
We see an excerpt from "Gone With the Wind" - Harry Bailey as Rhett Butler delivered the killer line "Frankly my dear...I don't give a damn" brilliantly and with real intent. It earned him a round of applause!
Part two opens with some singing along with the whole cast - I really enjoyed watching them act their way through the songs which they did really well.
The highlight of the evening, however, was the "It's In The Box" sketch with Malachy McCormack, Harry Bailey and Adam Gibson. Adam played the role of Eli and it has to be seen to be believed. Absolute total comedy genius - I want to see it again...and again. There was a little bit of corpsing at the start of the scene which just made it even funnier and all three of them handled it like true professionals. The three of them couldn't have been better cast and Harry really did a fantastic job as the frustrated sensible one trying to get some sense out of his sidekicks. All of them had an excellent grasp of the comedy and what was needed. Boys - I salute you.
This was a really enjoyable and charming show with some hilarious moments. It had just the right balance of nostalgia and humour and was warm and entertaining. It ended with "We'll Meet Again" - and as far as the Players Youth Theatre is concerned, I certainly hope to do so.
Reviewer: Nicky Lambert
Reviewed: 31st March 2017