Thursday, 19 January 2017

"Our Day Out" by Willy Russell
The Young Performers.
The musical was developed from the 1977 BBC television play "Our Day Out" by Willy Russell. The story is about a group of children in a Progress Class going on a school trip to Conwy Castle in Wales. On the journey, they make some stops: at a petrol station where they steal sweets, at the zoo they steal most of the animals and a student gets lost at the beach.
There's the usual teacher crush, the bossy teacher and the nice teacher, giving the good cop bad cop situation, an over protective bus driver who stamps his authority over the kids by letting them know that he's the "boss of the bus", plus many colourful characters among the kids.
There's a line in the play which states that "if you don't invest in something, you can't get anything out", and that is so true here because there's been a lot of investment in time and talent and we got a lot out of this investment.
I for one was transported back to some of my school trips with some of the characters, especially the wonderful "I'm bleeding bored" duo.
The young cast were really good but there were several actors who really stuck out for me.
Molly Parkinson (Mrs Kay) played the good cop teacher whose character invested her faith in the "special" kids, giving a lovely light and shade when discussing the kids with the bossy Briggs.
Briggs was sent along by the headteacher (Zak Charlesworth), to keep an eye on the kids and the two teachers, Mrs Kay and Colin (George Parkinson). Loved Harvey Latter as Briggs in this role as he turned the "down the line" teacher from zero to hero in the eyes of the kids and Colin and Mrs Kay.
Joseph Downing, as the bus driver, Ronnie, presented another turnaround character as he played the bus boss from strict to a kindly uncle role.
Sienna McQuade (Linda) and Lauren Riley (Jackie) were besotted with "Sir" and the "bored pair" played with great fun by Harriet Slatcher and Lucie Smith-Barnes.
The two ex Progress class lads who joined the day out were played by Jake Truman (Btain Reilly) and Bradley Mcclean (Digga Dickson) were also a pair that took me back to my childhood. i must also say that Bradley has a good voice for the theatre and really good projection.
Another actor here who has a really good voice is Libby Gallagher (Carol) who played a lovely part as the young girl who really wanted to better herself and raise herself out of the Progress class and to make something of her life.
As I said, the whole cast gave diamond performances and there are many future stars in this cast.
The rest of the cast were Megan Thomas, Tilly Finn-Cook, Liam Morris, Ryan Yates, Hayley Watson, Lenny Antwi, Brooke Marsden, Ruby Garrison, Ava Haylock, Lucy Kenyon, Eleanor Meakin, Giselle Taverner, Darcey Alicia Taylor and Henry Icke. Every one giving 110% especially as they also acted as the scene shifters as well as providing vocals.
Great sound, as usual, from The Band, Leon WadeSean GaravanJeff Widdowson and Adam Baskill and the same quality as I've come to expect from Dave Martin and David Sims with the lighting and sound mix.
Making sure that there was loads of fun in this production were directors Elaine Clemerson, Patricia Freer and Vicky Moran.
This is a lovely fun filled production which also gets you thinking twice about pre-judging, as well as transports you back to your juvenile days.
Some wonderful catchy songs, 18 of them in about an hour and twenty minutes, and by the looks of the fun that was emitting from the stage, the audience were caught up in this wave of fun and reacted accordingly with rapturous applause, richly deserved.
It takes a lot of guts for anyone to put themselves out on stage and sing and dance and act, something I just wouldn't have the guts to do, and these kids are young and their passion is obvious for all to see. They deserve our support and admiration.
"Our Day Our" by The Young Performers is being performed at The Duchess Theatre until Saturday 21 January 2017. Go on, have a night out with "Our Day Out".

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