Lowry Young Actors’ Company
23rd to 24th June 2014
Nightlight: Francesca Waite
Originally published as a comment on Georgina Wells’ review here at the MTA site.
An ambitious project with a large cast, I felt that Nightlight could have better balanced the two sides of itself. Fairy tale elements were highlighted in the promotional literature, but the production was primarily carried along by gritty scenes set in the bars, flats and streets of Salford. It often lacked the sense of otherworldliness that makes fairy tales so enthralling, and considering its young cast, it was odd that the sense of a child’s perspective, again central to fairy tales, was underdeveloped.
A central plot strand concerned gang leader King’s military career in Afghanistan, and saw him ‘dethroned’ due to his perceived cowardice there. This was really too big an issue to bring into the show’s web of interconnected plot lines and what was supposed to be the dramatic turning-point of the production ended up grossly oversimplifying issues of modern warfare and post-traumatic stress. Admittedly, fairy tales often tangle with traumatic events without addressing them thoughtfully – Beauty marrying the Beast who imprisoned her, anyone? – but in a play which aimed to give a modern voice to old stories, I had hoped for more.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: William Shakespeare
Originally published as a comment on Harriet Mallion’s review here at the MTA site.
I completely agree with Harriet’s comments regarding the energy and confidence of the cast, who certainly knew how to work the audience for laughs and used movement very effectively in the scenes with the lovers and the mechanicals. I also thought that the toy box theme, with its superhero costumes and bright colours, was an inspired choice, reflecting the youth of the company and the slight surrealism of the play’s events. However, the introductory short film – whilst very funny – added unnecessarily to the length of a production which ran almost two hours without a break, and as part of a double bill felt overlong.