‘Showtime’ for young Falkland acting talent

Falkland Youth Theatre
Falkland Youth Theatre

THE future of acting in Fife is in great hands if the recent superb show by Falkland Youth Theatre is anything to go by.

Strong performances from start to finish entertained two packed houses providing a great afternoon at the village hall from Lisa Irving and her group of talented young stars.

“Extracts 2012” pushed many of the actors to their limits and reflecting the experience and confidence of the young acting group. Scenes from eight plays and short stories explored relationships between different generations and the angst-ridden world modern teenagers face growing up in society.

The afternoon opened up with segments from Muriel Spark’s classic, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which immediately had the audience nodding and laughing in appreciation. Marcie Irving led as the eccentric 1930s school teacher who ignores the more mundane subjects to teach her ‘gals’ about art, politics and love with her sole of turning them into her ‘crème de la crème!’ whilst benefitting from her “prime years”.

Miss Brodie was complemented and contrasted by Fiona Cooper, convincingly playing the conservative and straight headmistress.

Iona Anderson, Vaila Anderson and Rosie Baird triumphed as the three “gals”, all showing great skills including perfect timing and physical comedy.

Kelsey Sneddon and Matthew Chris connected beautifully in Brian Friel’s ‘Lovers’ as a young Irish couple studying for their exams and preparing a future together. Extended pauses on stage are a difficult technique to master, however Kelsey and Matthew brought life to a difficult piece with ease and natural insight.

Shelagh Delaney’s ‘A Taste of Honey’ brought Ellen Bannerman, Marcie Irving and Ronan Doyle together to explore a variety of themes including teenage pregnancy, alcoholism in the family and homosexuality – all sources of taboo in the late 1950s. Intense performances, in particular between Marcie and Ellen, gave life to powerful scenes between a drunk, selfish mother and her neglected daughter.

With excerpts from Russian playwright Anton Chekhov there were many opportunities to deliver well observed portraits about clever common people dealing with ‘superiors.’ Iona Anderson, Matthew Christey, Fiona Cooper and Rosie Baird acted in pairs in two short pieces called ‘The Audition’ and ‘The Governess.’

Jamie Mather, Ronan Doyle and Ellen Bannerman brought the house down with their take on ‘The Arrangement’, a coming of age story with some hilarious moments. Some great timing was key to this comedic extract, with all three actors building a genuinely humorous and hugely enjoyable piece.

In ‘Monologues’, based on Dawn French’s novel, ’A Tiny Bit Marvellous’, Rosie Baird and Kelsey Sneddon set about effortlessly revealing the thoughts and views of teenage girls with much humour and not a little criticism directed at the boring parents.

A very entertaining afternoon of comedy, tragedy and pathos saw a finale with scenes from ‘Billy Liar’ where Joshua Davie, Hayley Irving, Rosie Bannerman, Iona Anderson and Jamie Mather took the audience back in time to the kitchen sink drama of the 1960s. Each of the actors brought out the comedy and drama of this timeless classic, playing each part with much energy and fabulous team spirit on show.

Yet again, the actors held down difficult accents and again their comic timing kept the piece moving along at a cracking pace. Josh and tangerine-devouring Hayley, in particular, showed great chemistry on stage and triggered plenty of laughs amongst the audience.

Congratulations must go to Lisa Irving who, once again, has pulled terrific performances out of a really talented group of youngsters.

Many thanks to all those who helped behind the scenes, without whom the show could not go on: Evelyn Wales (props and costumes), Lara Barclay (sound), and Isaac Davie (lighting).

CONTRIBUTED