Haddenham Youth Theatre presented one of its most ambitious programmes yet, writes Margaret Watkins.
Two plays, The Most Beautiful Flower by Tony Best and adapted by Antonia Barber, and an adaptation of Oliver Twist by Jeremy Brock, were presented by the young actors with great assurance and aplomb on Friday and Saturday, January 29 and 30, at Haddenham Community Junior School.
The first play, The Most Beautiful Flower, was a delightful tale exploring the conflicting concepts of youthful enthusiasm and older experience. The younger Youth Theatre group worked really well as a team, led with great assurance by Matthew Moore as both the king and the grandfather, the voice of experience, and the prince and the farmer, representing youth, played by Ellis Zijderveld and Angus Thomas.
With over 50 characters to cast in the complicated story of Oliver Twist, most of the actors in the senior group played several parts.
Congratulations to Gillian Liddell who, in charge of costumes, made sure that each actor was dressed exactly right for the part — and was in the right place at the right time!
On the final evening Matthew Moore received a special plaudit. Not only did he take one of the main parts in the first play but, at three weeks’ notice, he also stepped in to take no fewer than three extra parts in Oliver.
Once again Oliver Twist was a wonderful team effort, led brilliantly by Dan Bedwell as Oliver, Louis Webb as Fagin, Connor Spence as Bill Sikes, Bethy Airstone as the Artful Dodger and Eimear Simpson as Nancy.
The production team, led by Lynne Colley and Angie Oakley as directors, supported the young actors with a superb set full of nooks and crannies, suggesting Fagin’s den and, also, the elegant drawing rooms of the affluent classes.
At the final performance, Duncan Spence, who has been stage manager and set producer for several years, was presented with a variety of gifts to thank him and to note that he is taking a well-earned rest after this production.
The final thanks must go to Lynne Colley for her continuing hard work for Haddenham Youth Theatre. In an emotional thank you speech, started by Connor Spence and continued by Tom Lovell, it was made plain that Lynne’s achievements are truly valued by all concerned.