Review: The Willow Pattern & The Chrysalids, Derby Theatre

imagesYou have to applaud the sheer enthusiasm and hard work of Derby Theatre’s Youth Theatre in producing this week’s double bill.

The Willow Pattern and The Chrysalids are two stories linked by their themes of love, sacrifice and freedom and they were certainly challenging choices for the group to perform.

But then Derby is a learning theatre and with Sarah Brigham at the helm what ever is staged will be aimed at bringing out the best in the team.

The two groups have been rehearsing for about 12 weeks and they have had to work at weekends and around important exams so it’s certainly not been easy but they succeeded in putting together superb performances for which they should all be mightily proud.

You can tell that they have gelled as teams and they have used their imagination to find creative solutions to hurdles presented to them by the script.

The portrayal of the pet doves in The Willow Pattern was so simple yet extremely effective and in The Chrysalids the lighting and choreography used as the children’s minds linked in and out was impressive.

The young people have probably not decided in which direction they want to develop their theatre skills – some will want to act, while others on the stage will be budding directors or hankering after a career in lighting and sound. What is great about youth theatre is that you can get involved in learning about all aspects of the production.

For that reason I am not going to highlight any individual performances but instead just congratulate everyone involved on taking part and entertaining the audience with two excellent plays.

The Willow Pattern, by Judith Johnson, was directed by Emma Waslin and the cast was Niamh Atkinson, Susie Bailey, Jemma Black, Sophie Bloor, Daisy Chell, Dharum Dhadli, Isabelle Gatford-Ball, Tabitha Gresty, Luke Houghton, Amy Kelly, Jessica Kneale, Reid Oliphant, Luca Panetta, Rebecca Pipes, Holly Pridmore, Joseph Rainbow, Callum Reilly, Ellie Smith, Jamie Snell, Anand Talwar and Lucy Wightman.

The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham, was directed by Sarah Brigham and the cast was Mitchell Baker, Georgia Blood, Alessi Blount, Adele Bond, Ben Cresswell, Daya Dhadli, Jack Dranfield, Lucy Evans, Dominic Gibbs, Rebecca Legg, Lucy Mabbitt, Nikita Mediratta, Ryan Molloy, Maddie Newbury, Brogan Piggott, Mia Schroder, Kianna White, Sophie Whitebrook, Chloe Wragg and Lucy Young.

The plays can be seen at Derby Theatre tonight (Friday) and tomorrow at 7.30pm.

Next week Pulse, a new play with music by Sally Siner and directed by the theatre’s head of learning, Caroline Barth, is being staged by Derby People’s Theatre. It can be seen from July 31 until August 2.

For ticket details for both productions go to