|Date:||Friday 22nd April 2016|
Written by Patrick Marber
Performed by HFC Youth Theatre
As part of the National Theatre’s nationwide Connections Festival for young performers, Hall For Cornwall’s Youth Theatre took on The Musicians by Patrick Marber. Under the skilful direction of Director Simon Harvey (O-region, Kneehigh, Rabbit etc.) the students delivered a funny, polished, joyous performance of Marber’s witty play.
Set in a Moscow theatre the students of Ridley Road state school are performing as part of the European Festival of Youth; how they received this honour is up for debate as the students themselves freely own up to ‘being shit’.
The play is an ensemble piece, but has two lead characters who are wildly different whilst being very much alike. Alex is a young Russian cleaner with a delirious passion for British pop music, particularly Pinball Wizard; his opposite number is Roland, the pompous, but surprisingly endearing orchestra conductor. Things fall apart when the orchestra’s instruments are impounded by customs in a drug related incident; with no opportunity to replace them, panic sets in until Alex comes to the rescue with a brilliant idea. At this point, under superb tuition from Movement Director, Helen Tiplady (HFC Youth Dance, RIO, CScape), The Musicians moves onto another level as we watch the cast metamorphose from brash kids into beautifully choreographed dancers. Kudos also to Phil Innes for insightful sound design and Tom Hare as the show’s excellent M.D.
The youngsters portraying Alex and Roland were both terrific, the Russian accent for Alex was just right and Roland’s pomposity never overstepped the mark into Basil Fawlty territory. Together, this young company immersed themselves in the story and revelled in their roles; they understood the comedy and their delivery was spot on. With students playing noisy students, there were times when the youngsters could have drowned out the lead characters with constant chatter, to their credit the volume levels didn’t intrude and every word rang out clearly.
Simon Harvey and Helen Tiplady should feel very proud of their young protégés, the performances were brave and strong with a warm understanding of the story and each other. Young amateurs they may be, but when technical gremlins struck they continued like true professionals.
Congratulations to everyone involved in The Musicians, here’s hoping Hall For Cornwall Youth Theatre’s performance can be seen by a wider audience in the near future.