I am privileged to be able to review many productions in the district but not every one of them leaves me moved as this one did.
Here is a beautifully simple story, based on the faith and optimism of children contrasted with the cynicism and cruelty of the grown ups. It is less a musical than a play with music and rather difficult music at that. But the cast not only coped but triumphed. The Northern accents, the intensity of the acting, the relationship between the characters, especially the three lead children, Cathy, Nan and Charlie, were all exceptional.
Cathy (Kathryn Peacock) has a pure soprano voice which was used to great effect and she engaged the audience from the first plaintive note she sang. Her brother and sister, Nan (Monique Crisell) and Charlie (Jack Toland) completed a partnership that was absolutely convincing throughout. This was not a show with big production numbers but rather a storyline that unfolded with honest simplicity.
Every single child onstage contributed to a whole that was spellbinding to watch and often quite emotional. The pictures created within the small barn were especially good and the remarkably clever set, combined with the lighting, was sufficient to provide both variety and credibility. The balance between singers and band was just right.
I assume that microphones were used but I honestly don’t know because the sound was so natural. I thoroughly enjoyed this production and remain intrigued by the ending. I did notice the imagery reminiscent of the Last Supper, Peter’s denial of Christ, Judas’s betrayal and The Man’s wounds. This was no doubt intrinsic to the play but it was always done with a light touch.
I am so glad that CYGAMS chose to do a production that provided not only a real challenge but also many lasting memories.
Reviewer – Stewart Adkins, NODA East