**** (4 Stars)
Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York - 28 May, 2014
Having never seen an amateur production of the stage version of High School Musical, I was unsure of what to expect. However, I was blown away by how good this production was!
The show started off with a “Wildcat Cheer” and although there were difficulties with the sound limiting the amount of great vocals and speech it did not alter the cast’s performance and they carried on showing a real dedication to their show. The first act came to an end after Connor Mellor (as Zeke Baylor) had his tremendous song “Stick to the Status Quo” and then pushing his lovely cake into Sharpay. In the second act the technical difficulties had been sorted out and everyone could now be heard, this took the show to a whole new level increasing everyone’s performance it also meant that by the end of the show we had a few members of the young audience giving a standing ovation singing and dancing along to their favourites songs “Breaking Free” and “Megamix”.
Christian Mortimer who played (Troy Bolton) and Megan Forgan who played (Gabriella Montez) really managed to capture the relationships for each other and combine their acting skills together pushing them forwards showing a true and believable performance. Kelly Stocker as Sharpay Evans alongside Jake Husband as Ryan Evans brought out the comedy of these characters and had the audience in laughter throughout.
The age of the audience really suited for this musical and represented a real boost within the cast on stage because of the great reactions given within the whole theatre. This show was really brought to life and beat all my expectations.
Triptych is an utterly unique musical endeavour, created to unearth exciting and emergent musical talent across the UK and abroad.
Three exceptional female composers (Elizabeth Charlesworth, Polina Nazaykinskaya and Laura McGarrigle) have been chosen to create a triad of sublime scores, set to Belfast’s Poet Laureate Sinéad Morrissey's ceaselessly evocative writing.
The three poems the composers will be using as inspiration have now been announced!
Genetics is a simple and touching piece, littered with tender reflections on family, love and legacy.
A Lie is an intricately structured ballad, with elegiac ruminations on the deceiving beauty of a long forgotten past.
Pearle is the closing poem of the Morrissey’s 2002 collection Between Here and There. It is inspired by a story of a domestic accident suffered by her mother at the age of seven. The poem suggests Morrissey inheriting a pearl from her mother, which stands for a sense of wonder and poetic imagination. Through the symbolic gift she gains a better insight into the interrelationship between time and space, history and place, from her 21st century .
The texts are chosen and the composing has begun. We at YMT could not be more excited by what our talented young musicians will be inspired to create with these stunning stimuli!
Come join us and see these unique pieces come to fruition! Click here to book tickets!
Friday, 15 August 2014 - 7:30pm to Saturday, 16 August 2014 - 2:30pm
Belfast: The MAC
This August, YMT will be embarking on an ambitious new project, a cutting-edge musical experience investigating the changing face of womanhood and gender expectations in the 21st century - Miss Interpreted.
For some thoughts on that state of equality within the arts we turn to Joss Whedon, American screenwriter and director.
He is best known for his trademark fantasy/sci-fi series’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, as well as the outlandish mini-series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Additionally Whedon co-wrote Pixar’s Toy Story and the meta-horror flick The Cabin in the Woods.
Most recently he has directed the critically acclaimed adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing following mere days after completing his most extravagant project to date The Avengers Assemble, the third highest-grossing film of all time.
Whedon’s career has been epitomized by his razor-whited dialogue, homicidal treatment of beloved characters and the abundance of “strong” roles he writes for women.
In a 2006 speech for the organisation Equality Now, Whedon addressed the question he had been asked more than any other, a question that has come to define his work over the last two decades. He gives an abridged account of the various responses he has found himself giving to this repetitive inquiry:
“Why do you always write these strong women characters?”
“I think it's because of my mother. She really was an extraordinary,
inspirational, tough, cool, sexy, funny woman. And that's the kind of woman I've always surrounded myself with”
“Why do you write these strong women characters?”
“Because of my father. My father and my step-father had a lot do with it, because they prized wit and resolve in the women they were with, above all things, and they were among the rare men who understood that recognising somebody else's power does not diminish your own”
“So, why do you write these strong women characters?”
Well, because these stories give people strength, and I've heard it from a number of people, and I've felt it myself.
“Why do you write these strong women characters?”
Cause they're hot.
“But these strong women characters…”
“Why are you even asking me this?
How is it possible that this is even a question? Honestly? Seriously? Why did you write that down? Why aren't you asking a hundred other guys why they don't write strong women characters?”
“So... why do you write these strong women characters?”
Interview 50 Continued:
“Because equality is not a concept. It's not something we should be striving for. It's a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women. And the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who is confronted with it.
We need equality. Kinda now"
“So, why do you write these strong female characters?”
“Because you're still asking me that question”
Like Joss we at YMT believe that the art the theatre community creates can reflect the inequality we accept, and we should never stop uncovering and questioning that.
To watch Joss Whedon’s unabridged speech Click Here!
Saturday 16 August 2014 - 7:30pm to Sunday 17 August 2014 - 2:30pm
Halifax: Square Chapel.
***** (5 Stars)
Southwark Playhouse, London - Friday 16 May, 2014
In The Heights at the Southwark Playhouse is outstanding.
The production is an explosion of colour and fun. Under the direction of Luke Sheppard, the cast are incredible. The story follows Usnavi, played brilliantly by Sam Mackay, whose parents moved from the Dominican Republic to create a new life in Washington Heights, New York. The relatively sparse but colourful set is brought to life as the action unfolds and the audience meet the characters that impact on Usnavi’s life as they all struggle to make lives for themselves.
The hilariously sassy Daniela, who owns the local beauty salon, is portrayed perfectly by Victoria Hamilton-Barritt and has the entire audience in hysterics after every line or movement. With standout company numbers such as “Carnaval del Barrio” and “Alabanza” the infectious, Latin-infused music, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, isn’t a genre typically heard in musical theatre and that’s what makes it so refreshing.
The entire production is so full of energy and it's so obvious that the cast are loving it as much as the audience. It feels so honest and that is down to the passion that every member of the cast clearly has for this musical. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, as did the rest of the audience who made it clear as we leapt to our feet during the blackout before the music had even ended!
The vocals are flawless, Drew McOnie’s fast-paced choreography is perfectly executed and I’ve already booked tickets to see it again. This is a production that is NOT to be missed!
In The Heights is playing at the Southwark Playhouse until 7 June. Buy your tickets here: http://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/index.php/the-large/in-the-heights/
Of course, we all know those famous Grimms' fairy tales like Cinderella and Rapunzel, but mostly we've read or seen the Disney versions. The real Grimm tales are much darker and more frightening - some so frightening that we rarely hear or see them.
YMT's Summer Skills course in Belfast gives you the chance to discover and create a whole new world of scary tales, ones that could be set in Belfast city centre on any Saturday night or in the lonely mists of the Sperrin mountains or on a deserted island in Strangford Lough....
In the spirit of scares, YMT would like to give you a spooky insight into the parts of the Grimm stories that you were never told…
We all remember Snow White and her entourage of dwarfs: Angry, Slappy, Manic-depressy and so on. The moral of the story: When it comes to enchanted fruit never buy local. It doesn’t matter how juicy the organic insomnia apple looks, you’d probably be better off at Sainsbury’s.
At the end of the story the evil queen is punished; what the Disney version failed to mention was the method of punishment. A pair of glowing-hot iron shoes are brought forth with tongs and placed before the Queen. She is forced to step into the burning shoes and dance until she drops dead! Why can no one take an innocent poisoned apple joke anymore?
Hansel and Gretel
Two children lost in the woods far from home. They find themselves imprisoned within a gingerbread cottage by an evil witch, seeking to fatten them up with all manner of delicious sweets. Presumably they didn’t think to chew their way to freedom through the bathroom wall. Regardless they return joyfully to their family with the witch’s wealth and type-two diabetes. Hooray!
An important omission from the tale is that when a great famine settles over the land, the children’s abusive stepmother decides to take them into the woods and leave them there to die because they eat too much.
Impractical footwear, obsessive dance partners, running for the midnight tube home, Cinderella has all the hallmarks of magical and most likely messy night out. God knows we could all use a pumpkin cab home, especially after a few too many mystic brews.
The gruesome detail removed from the original story is that in the evil sister’s eagerness to fool the prince they actually cut off their toes and parts of their heel to fit into the glass slipper. Turning the shoe red with their blood.
In the next tale our heroine is having the mother of all bad hair days; Rapunzel is definitely not the person you want to be dancing next to in a club. But all this fails to put off our valiant prince who sees her as the ultimate girl next door… next tower?
On the prince’s penultimate rescue attempt he unknowingly climbs up Rapunzel’s severed hair, cut by the villain Mother Gothel. She tells him he will never see Rapunzel again. So he jumps out the window in despair and is blinded from the thorns below.
Little Red Riding Hood
"Goodness, what big eyes you have Grandma!"
"The better to see you with"
“No, seriously they’re like twice the size Grandma"
“I’m wearing my contacts”
“And what big hands you have!"
"The better to hug you with"
“Because they look a lot like paws to me”
“Carpal tunnel syndrome”
“And the fur?”
“You like my new gloves then? Come closer and see them”
The only way this story could work in reality is if the young girl already had an exceptionally hairy grandmother…
The Brothers Grimm actually wrote second part to Little Red’s story. It involved the girl and her grandmother trapping and killing another wolf, this time anticipating his moves based on their experience with the previous one. The girl did not leave the path when the wolf spoke to her, her grandmother locked the door to keep it out, and when the wolf lurked, the grandmother had Little Red Riding Hood put a trough under the chimney and fill it with water that sausages had been cooked in; the smell lured the wolf down, and it drowned.