Friday, 12 August 2016

"Peter Pan Jr"
Nottingham Arts Theatre.
As part of the Arts Theatre Summer Show In A Week they run, they basically take a group of youngsters on Monday morning, introduce them to the show they are to learn, audition them and then the kids learn the play, the script, the songs and the choreography all in five days. Well not so much as five days but 25 hours. There aren't too many adult actors who can take that in but that's what these kids did.
I love to see a professional, slick show with big numbers in, but at the other end of the scale I also love to see where the seeds are sown, It's interesting to see how passionate and "sponge-like" these young people are; soaking up and retaining all that they have been taught throughout the week and performing with the utmost confidence a full musical show to the standard they did.
Whether they are main characters or chorus, every one of the talented youngsters performed with great gusto as if they had been doing it forever. At school I was always first to volunteer to be in the school plays and I loved the attention and the sound of the audience's applause, so i know that at their age the joy that they must feel with the appreciation shown for all of their hard work. I can just about remember that far back!
Let it be known that everyone on stage were little stars and I'm not going to mention every one of the 27 cast members but there are a few that I must mention.
Peter Pan was played by Tae-Jhaun (TJ) Brennan-Robinson and a masterful performance it was as well, with just the right amount of cockiness.
Nia Phelan (Tinkerbell) and her little brother Rhys Phelan (Michael) oozed confidence in their roles. Visiting Nottingham to see family, they decided that, as they attend drama classes back in Ireland, they would have a go in "Peter Pan Jr" and they were a joy to watch.
Finn Wreaves (John) is another really strong and confident young actor who has really good voice projection. I heard every word he said.
Jessica Morley (Wendy) showed great maturity as the older Darling child and i loved the slight scattiness of Mr Darling, played by Jonathan Norman, who also doubled up as Pirate Flint. Completing the Darling family was Holly Sullivan (Mrs Darling/Pirate Murphy), again, a very mature performance.
I loved Rob Cattanach (Captain Hook) and Manny Moore (Smee) as a lovely comedy double act with the cut glass accents. It can often be difficult to make the baddie of the show into a comical character but Rob did this and Manny as his right hook-man just gelled so well together, and that showed on stage.
I also love it when the animals in the play actually look, like the animal they are supposed to be and Nana, the Darling dog, played by Amber Thomas and the wonderful crocodile costume for Ava Hemsley were magical. I also loved the thought that had gone into putting Ava, as the crocodile, on a base on wheels to imitate how the crocodile would slither around the stage.
I adored the ballet sequences and those dancers had such wonderful poise and lovely hand/arm lines. You could see the obvious notice the dancers had taken of their teachers.
As usual there was an amazing production team who brought it all together. Amy Rogers-Gee (Director/Choreographer), Hannah Rogers-Gee(Musical Director),Laura Ellis (Assistant Choreographer/Stage Manager) as well as a host of backstage assistants who made sure that the show went off without a hitch (well from the audience point of view, nothing went wrong), Callum, Joe. BecsAlisonSean, Vicki,Kacey and Cassie.
We, the audience member, often forget the hard work that goes on offstage and behind the scenes (quite literally), so it's always nice to let them know that their hard work doesn't go unnoticed.
Olly Read was in charge of the lighting and Rob Kettridge looked after the sound.
I have such admiration for everyone who steps foot on stage and especially when they are this young, But I also feel a pang of regret and maybe jealousy that I didn't carry on my acting after school and it's thanks to wonderful opportunities like those that are offered by The Arts Theatre, and other local drama groups, that can mould and spawn the possible stars of the future from something like this.
Everyone involved should be very very proud of what they have achieved in such a short space of time. I imagine there were an awful lot of very proud parents and Grandparents there tonight as well.

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