Bernard Hall Cuddington
By Margaret Watkins - 31st March 2014 1:30pm
Played to a capacity audience, Haddenham Youth Theatre's latest production of 'The Willow Tree' by Geoff Bamber and 'Tales of King Arthur' by John Chambers provided a delightful evening of entertainment. Confident delivery and splendid consumes (courtesy of Gillian Liddell and Alison Court) added to a most enjoyable audience experience.
The first play, presented by the younger members of the group, was based on the legend of the Willow Pattern plate, a story of young lovers who run away to a remote island and, with the help of Ping, a faithful servant, and Li Hua, a sorceress, find true love.
Seren Myall, Alisha Oakley, Lucy Oakley and Charlotte Moore were last seen in the Haddenham Players' pantomime and continue to gain in confidence at every appearance. They worked well with the rest of the cast, using the extended stage for impressive entrances and exits.
Will Russell and Connor Spence, members of the senior group of actors, helped to direct 'The Willow Tree' as well as making impressive appearances in the second play, 'Tales of King Arthur'. Both are popular members of the Youth Theatre and seasoned actors in its past productions. Will, who played Lancelot, will be missed next year as he moves on to university.
It is hard to select any one performance in such an accomplished cast but Anna Hale's baleful stare and sense of menace in the part of Morgana dominated many scenes, even when she was not actually on stage but crouched on the extended stage surveying the action. She was ably supported by a flamboyant Mordred, played by Joss Dawkins and Greg Vickers gave calm authority to his part as Merlin.
No review would be complete without mention of Lynne Colley, the leader of the Youth Theatre for many years. A heartfelt tribute to her work in encouraging the talents of the company was given by Harry Parsons (Arthur) at the end of Saturday's performance, a tribute well-earned since Lynne has continued to inspire despite all the other calls on her time.
Your reviewer attended the performance, partly to support the group that she helped to form many years ago and partly to talent spot for young actors to take part in a play on World War I that will be presented in Haddenham in November. With such an abundance of talent, she quickly gave up the task and will have to offer a part to everyone!
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