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What a great play for mixed age young people – enough fairy tale for the youngest, whilst wry asides and humour satisfied the older cast members.

I thoroughly enjoyed the play, and what this talented cast did with it.

The set, although familiar from previous productions, lent itself well to the current play, with additional movable pieces to set the different scenes, and a good lighting plot that gave us atmosphere when needed.

The costumes were all very colourful and suitable, and gave us something interesting and eye-catching to watch.

Projection and diction were mostly spot-on, we heard what was being said, and the meanings and asides were pointed, so that we didn’t miss any of the nuances.  I know a lot of this is Director-driven, but the fact that it worked was down to the actors.

Josh Kendall as PI Puss in Boots – did a sterling job, and has really upped his game since last year.  He was onstage practically the whole time, and managed to bring out the humour and reasoning powers of his part, whilst engaging the audience in his deductions.  This young man has the makings of good comic timing.  Very well done.

Harmony Nanton once again made an impression as Red (little Red Riding Hood), although she started a little slowly, she then got into her stride and gave us a really punchy characterisation, full of contradictions, and lovely gestures.  Her hair and costume were outstanding – and she certainly will go far in performing terms.  Very good accent, and no doubting the type of young lady Red was!

Lotte Ridley played Mary (the Quite Contrary character of the nursery rhyme), and kept a very good persona throughout – a strong portrayal, with simple but fresh costumes.  Lotte also got good reflective qualities into her speech when looking at the clues and searching for the truth.

Goldie (the three Bears cohort), was played by Paris Ovenden.  I thought she could perhaps have gone a little further with the scheming side of her character, but overall was effective in her relationships with the other cast members.  

Woody, played by Harrison Watson, was an extremely well-drawn character, again comic timing was good, and we got the slightly dim young  man, who has the occasional flash of recognition!!  I feel this young man is one to watch, and has so much more to give, which I hope to be able to witness in the next few years.

Loved the fact that the Big Bad Wolf was called Eric – a very debonair looking and nicely performed portrayal by Clare McGinn.  I would have liked her to just slow down her speech slightly, which would have made it clearer.  

Charlotte Taylor played two roles, and accomplished both well.  I felt that with Rumpelstiltskin she was playing a little too much upstage, so that we lost some of the impact of the words, but when she was playing Prince Charming we had a full-on swash-buckling character with good sword skills.  Charlotte came into her own as the very regal Prince.

Charlie Driver played the Troll (of the Billy Goats Gruff fame), she delivered some good and humorous lines very well, whilst maintaining a slightly nasty persona, which was needed for the Troll.  Loved the fact that the Troll’s name was Brian – and the friendship forged between Brian and Eric!!

The palace guard, Sergeant Toe, was played by Mollie Bray.  This young lady has great vocal clarity and good understanding of her lines – I liked what she did with the part.

The Finale was very lively, and nice to have just that one musical number, which left us on a high.  A very charming and intelligent vehicle for some lovely performers – always good to visit TADS, and their Teens are certainly giving us very interesting and mature performances.  

TADS Teens

“NURSERY CRIMES” TADS Theatre, Toddington

review date 25th April 2014

Director: Rachel Price


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