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Youth Theatre Review

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Copperfield 14
Far From the Madding Crowd 75

Haddenham Youth Theatre members set themselves a challenge this season by presenting three plays over the weekend of 25/26th January 2019, two of which I attended on the Saturday evening.

'Copperfield' and 'Far From The Madding Crowd' were played by the middle and senior groups of young actors.

Lynne Colley, ably supported by her production team of Hannah Austin, Angie Oakley, Holly Zijderveld and Odhran Thomas, had chosen adaptations of classic novels by Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. This was an ambitious choice but the young actors rose to the challenge by presenting two performances which entertained and involved the audience.

Unusually, the 'Copperfield' script played for laughs and the cast, led in a strong performance by Alfie Heafield as David, captured the wry humour of the playscript.

The cast supported one another well and worked as a confident team. Harry Moore and Eddie McLoughlin portrayed the ever optimistic Mr Micawber and the slimy Uriah Heep particularly well, as did Amelie Lamborn as the horrible Jane Murdstone.

'Far From The Madding Crowd', played against a simple set of rough wooden furniture and a stack of hay bales, evoked the country setting of Thomas Hardy's famous novel well.

This play, in turn, was a challenge for the older actors, with its complicated plot and emotional characterisation.

Once again, the cast worked well as a team supporting each other in the crowd scenes. These were enhanced by spirited music, singing and dance, all of which contributed to the atmosphere.

Several of the cast played more than one part but the notable part switch was that of the heroine Bathsheba, played by Harper Williams in Act 1 and Holly Zijderveld in Act 2. Both actors brought the wayward, wilfully independent but misguided Bathsheba to life with convincing performances that traced her life through all its ups and downs.

Both actors were ably supported by Connor Simpson as the loyal Gabriel and Matthew Moore as Mr Boldwood , her ill-fated would-be suitor, and Odhran Thomas as Sergeant Troy. The young actors showed that they were more than able to keep the pace of the action going with its dramatic changes of scene and emotion.

Lynne Colley and her team are to be congratulated on yet another in a long list of excellent productions with Haddenham Youth Theatre.

There are lots more photos to enjoy in the Galleries section of this website.

Images capturing the matinee production "Murder at Haynes Manor" courtesy of Erik Zijderveld.

Margaret Watkins