Review: Big Trouble at Little Rock - Alnwick Youth Theatre, Alnwick Playhouse (last night and tomorrow, 7.30pm, tickets £8, £6 conc, £5 child/student, on the door or call box office on 01665 510785 or visit www.alnwickplayhouse.co.uk)
There’s gold at that thar Playhouse!
The little treasures from the middle group of the Alnwick Youth Theatre proved they can act, sing and dance when they took the stage by storm yesterday in a new production written by Wendy Payn.
The gun-toting, pick-wielding, thigh-slapping youngsters transformed the theatre into Wild West town Little Rock, where big trouble was brewing after the mayor hatched a plan to persuade the railroad to pass through and help prevent townsfolk moving away.
His idea was to claim gold had been found at Little Rock, leading to a procession of prospectors looking to make their fortune. But among them were the baddies who attempted to profit using underhand methods, including kidnapping the mayor and stealing the booty.
The youngsters handled the musical numbers, borrowed from musicals and films, such as Calamity Jane, Paint Your Wagon and Disney’s Song of the South and Snow White (Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go), with aplomb.
And there were some nuggets of comic genius - I liked the tumbleweed that was theatrically ‘blown’ across the stage and the posh Mexican in the wacky trio, The Good, The Bad and Jeremy.
Zara Sumner and Beatrix Barnes performed above their years as the mayor’s sidekicks Deputy DooDah and Deputy Day, likewise Alex Clark-Thompson as Hillbilly Willy, Isaac Mills as Mayor McClusky, Billy Swan as the baddie Luke Pong-a-Lot, Lexy Bee as saloon dancer Sally and Daisy Swayer as Constance McClusky.
And Maisie Fisher was a little gem as Roo Pong-a-Lot, acting with poise, clarity and confidence.
It does seem unfair to select a few when the whole cast produced a night of fun, gun-slinging capers.
So stand up and take a bow, the company:
Matthew Hardy, Isaac Mills, Daisy Sawyer, Zara Sumner, Beatrix Barnes, Cerys Williams, Billy Swan, Katie Mewett, Maisie Fisher, Alex Clark-Thompson, Harriet Renner, Ross Morgan, Alice Brazel, Grace Forsyth, Palesa Thompson, Catherine Jackson, Emma Hutchings, Eleanor Morris, Cody Harrison, Claire Robson, Megan Brown, Lexy Bee, Sarah Walker, Sophie Thompson, Zoe Gilroy, Lauren Robinson, Taylor Enstone, Charlotte Matthewson, Joe Bennett, Isaac Ellis, Oscar Wilson, Harry Clark-Thompson, Harry Ellaby, Guy Leonard, Alex Brewis, Oscar Elliott Selkirk and Sam Hutchinson.
PRODUCTION: Cheryl Stewart, director; Peter Brown, musical director; Judy Tribe, stage manager; Tim Swinton, lighting; and backstage, Emily Pearse, Kirsty Hensleigh and Ally Foggon.