Sing! Dance! Act! – Around the World in One Night Review

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Sing!
The singing group from the Performance Academy were mesmerising. The amount of talent was amazing and in abundance. I could not believe my eyes, and their performances were really heart-warming. The fact that this talent came from young people showcases and the range and diversity of talent that Wakefield has to offer, and the vocals were out of this world. My ears were dancing to the rhythms. My favourite singing act was Philippa Creasey’s rendition of “How Far I’ll go” because her voice was really beautiful and nearly made me cry and ruin my makeup. It was truly a brilliant memorable rendition and once which I’ll never forget.

Dance!
My favourite dance act was the “Jai Ho” performance, since I love Bollywood. The choreography was slick, polished and really well executed. The costumes were exuberant and bright and looked beautiful. Amazing work dancers. I’ll be coming to watch you again! Thank you for the brilliant performance.

Act!
The actors were a brilliant bunch. I particularly enjoyed the passion emanating from the younger and older actors, and how this allowed the audience to enjoy a more beautiful ambience. There was a dazzling array of talent.

On the whole, each performance was a success. Thank you for a brilliant night Theatre Royal Wakefield!

Written by Aishraat Shah

Sing! Dance ! Act! – Around the World in One Night Review

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“In the jungle, the QUIET jungle, the lion sleeps tonight!”

To start off the final showcase of Pontefract Performance Academy’s Around the World in One Night! we were entertained by the lively and enthusiastic youngest members in their debut performance of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’. Perhaps, had it been in close proximity to them, the lion may not have been still sleeping by the end of the song and might have booked an appointment with his ENT doctor. However, their vibrant costumes and infectious excitement thoroughly invigorated the audience and everyone was left feeling like a proud mother as they graciously bowed and waved their way off stage.

PA1 beautifully Chittied and Banged their way through their musical, concluding with a moving and mature rendition of ‘Hushaby Mountain’ that showed confident potential and some advanced promise. PA3 demonstrated the creativity and ability Performance Academy encourages and teaches with their original song ‘No Difference’. It was wonderful to see young performers using their influence and talent to make a difference and their confident opinions inspired the audience. The progression was clearly demonstrated between PA1, PA2 and PA3 but each group held their own and contributed uniquely to the first act.

A taste of the South Pacific flavoured the second act as we said ‘Aloha!’ to PA3’s rendition of ‘Moana’. Philippa Creasey’s solo ‘How far I’ll go’ demonstrated the astounding capabilities of the young talent at Performance Academy and she really captivated the audience. Next we saw their dramatic and elegantly choreographed ‘Jai Ho!’ group dance allowing their advanced dance ability to be showcased. I certainly attempted bopping along to the Bollywood routine in my chair and had some awkward apologies to deliver to those sat next to me.

We revisited the lions, who had sufficiently awoken, with PA2’s ‘African Sunset’ where encouraging potential was shown with some amazing acrobatic skills. The diversity and changeability of the Performance Academy was really effectively demonstrated.

An element I particularly enjoyed was PA3’s sign language version of ‘Purple Rain’. The astounding beauty of the signing was breath-taking and it wonderfully represented all manners of people being able to enjoy and experience the arts.

A wonderful, confident and talented performance was put on by all 3 Performance Academy groups. I thoroughly enjoyed every part and have kept my programme to have it signed by the many famous stars we are sure to be seeing come out of this talented bunch; I’ll be screaming in the crowd of their movie premier ‘I was a fan since 2017!”.

Written By Siobhán Crake

Sing! Dance ! Act! – Around the World in One Night Review

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Sing!
The amount of talent emanating out of such young people was almost unbelievable and almost makes you wonder what they are doing in Wakefield – and not the West End. The amount of raw talent shown from each and every one of the performers was inspiring. One of my favourite acts was Philippa Creasey’s rendition of “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana, which not only displayed her obvious natural talent but it also proved that the Academy doesn’t just make singers, but performers as well – she was easy to watch and was a dream to listen to.

Dance!
A sight for sore eyes indeed! The choreography was clever and dazzling. They were professionally polished and with so much going on at any given time, it was impossible to be bored. Yet again, the older group knocked it out of the park with an amazing French number where the boys were hopeless chefs and the girls were stunning dancers (one of them seemed to come naturally).

Act!
Writing this 3 letter word, I couldn’t help but smile as memories flooded back of amazing memories, not of the show, but of the ambience of the theatre. Passion flooded the stage and flushed into the audience which meant that instead of being a mediocre showcase for slightly uncomfortable parents and aunties that aren’t exactly sure which child is ‘theirs’ to watch. On the contrary, it was a  show unlike any other. It is clear the children were all talented – but their love for their craft was beautiful to notice – enough to inspire any audience member.

Overall, an abundance of talent, passion and excellent teachers, lighting and sound effects lead to an enticing and wonderful night out!

Written by Rebecca Pollard

Sing! Dance ! Act! – Around the World in One Night Review

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Theatre Royal Wakefield showcased some of their greatest talents in their Around the World in One Night show.  All of the groups performing had energy and enthusiasm, all of which amounted to a fantastic performance from everybody involved.

PA3 (the most senior of these young performers) opened the show and from then onward the audience were treated to a high standard and entertaining production.  PA1 (the youngest performers) did a fantastic rendition of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which deserves a special mention, as does Molly Clough, who sang ‘Good Morning Baltimore’, for their high levels of energy.  PA3s original song ‘No Difference’ and PA2s short play chronicling the myth of ‘Echo’ were wonderful.

The first act was rounded off by a shortened version of the new animated movie ‘Sing’ excellently acted and sung by PA2.

Act 2 commenced with songs from the new movie Moana, in a set entitles ‘Aloha!’ (PA3). This was probably one of my personal favourite elements of the production.  In this act we were treated to a PA3 dance quintet doing a fabulous routing to ‘Jai Hoi’, PA1 acting out the Indian tale of ‘Savitri & Satyava’, and PA2 giving us a taste of Africa in ‘African Sunset’, as well as lots more.  PA3 showcased their signing abilities with ‘Purple Summer’ where they used both song and sign language.  The show was finished with a big finale number, that tied it up really well.

Overall, this was an excellent performance from everyone in PA1, 2 and 3.  It showed their wonderful talents in acting, singing and dancing in lots of colourful routines and scenes.  All the kids should be proud of how they performed, as there was not one miserable face on stage all evening.

Written by Elizabeth Sykes

All The Little Lights Review

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All the Little Lights is a play written by Jane Upton.  It chronicles the meeting of Joanne, Lisa and Amy near some railway tracks, for a makeshift birthday party in which the ghosts of the past are found to be less than buried.

Lisa is played by Sarah Hoare and it’s her birthday.  Joanne, played by Tessie Orange-Turner, thinks it would be fun to find out where Lisa lives and to throw a party for her, near the railway tracks where they used to hang out.  Joining them is Amy (Esther-Grace Button) a bubbly twelve year old who is Joanne’s new friend.  There is cake, Spaghetti Hoops and Amy gives Lisa a Frozen onesie.  All this sounds pretty innocent, but when you realise answers to the questions like “Why did Joanne and Lisa stop being friends anyway? And “Why is Lisa so unnerved by Joanne and Amy’s friendship?” are less innocent, the play reveals its dark gritty undertones.

This play is mostly long monologues about other times, ‘the best days’ Joanne calls them, when Joanne and Lisa were like sisters.  Joanne swears every other word, and there’s a chilling story involving a young child and a radiator, so it’s not a play for the faint hearted.

The set, designed by Max Dorey, was probably my favourite part of the production.  The section of train tracks is quite cool and adds a nice touch.  The set is also key to parts of the script.

The acting was superb throughout the performance.  A special mention goes to Orange-Turner, because she not only had to swear every other word, but had to play a charismatic yet disagreeable character who had a pitch-black past and beats up twelve year old girls.

Between the fantastic acting and the cool set, this performance was well rounded and provided the audience with lots to think about.

Written by Elizabeth Sykes

All The Little Lights review

Review by Aishraat Shah

Photo by Robert Day

I thought that “All the Little Lights” was a moving poignant piece and a brilliant creative response to the high-profile cases of child sexual exploitation. The play gave these girls a voice and it made me realise that more needs to be done to stop this kind of behaviour to enable young persons to express themselves freely and feel liberated and happy. Furthermore, education should be provided around this subject and it should be talked about more. Young children should not become confused between right and wrong behaviour by the actions of responsible men who know that their actions are immoral, since some of these high-profile real life cases involved grooming a young woman to be part of a sex ring run by a gang of older men where she knew of them as her “family”: these men were malign and the girl in a specific case helped them to get other girls involved in their activities. The writer, Jane Upton, wanted to write about a girl in this same situation, who is Joanne in the play. Joanne is an authoritative young women who leads the group of girls she is with (Amy and Lisa). She is the leader of them, and uses extensive profane language and uses rather vulgar language. I think that the writer has made her this way to show the audience what this kind of behaviour can do to a young girl, the kind of influence it can have on her mind and behaviour and how it can totally and utterly disrupt and corrupt a beautifully innocent vulnerable young girl.

The play starts off with Amy, Lisa and Joanne at a train station celebrating Lisa’s birthday.  Lisa has a family to go back to, and consistently tries to persuade Joanne to let her go back home for which Joanne reluctantly doesn’t let her and avoids her leaving until the end of the play but with Amy.

Joanne was part of the sex ring and got Amy and Lisa involved. Lisa’s recount of the story tells us that Joanne, who was her best friend, got her involved in the sexual exploitation by older men. She also threatens to reveal her and Amy’s whereabouts to a group of men who were around in Lisa’s house. This led to the sexual exploitation of Amy and she could never forgive Joanne fully.

Joanne, through her experience of sexual exploitation, has come to swear a lot in the play and use uncouth language, as well as become violent when she doesn’t get her way. I think that the writer is showing us here that emotions build up, and clearly Joanne is unhappy and angry with the way she has been treated by these men, who we never see in the play, for which she takes out this anger on Amy when Amy mentions she once went the “chippy” without her.

I thought that one prominent scene which was full of rapture was where all three of the girls ran up to a moving train and jumped off the track just before the train was about to hit them, showing us that the girls wanted to feel “invincible” in that they must have has dreams that have been sabotaged and ruined from their childhood. It feels like the writer deliberately wanted these girls to confront their fears to be able to give them some sense of liberation and control over their lives.

Another moving play Theatre Royal Wakefield!

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All The Little Lights Review

Tessie Orange-Turner  Sarah Hoare in ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS by Jane Upton -  credit Robert Day.jpg

Tessie Orange-Turner and Sarah Hoare
Photo by Robert Day

All the Little Lights follows three girls, Amy played by Esther-Grace Button, Lisa played by Sarah Hoare and Joanne played by Tessie Orange-Turner. In what seems to be an innocent camping trip/birthday party soon turns into something much darker for all three of the girls as secrets and gritty pasts are unfolded.

It is a harrowing story, shocking, too. If how young Amy is compared to Joanne does not make you unsure about the relationships then the way Joanne talks to Lisa sure will. To begin with, it’s almost like Joanne is purely a villain, she doesn’t seem all that likeable, she seems to be manipulative and cold and yet by the end of the play the audience feels for her. The audience feels for all three girls, who were thrown into a life they do not want. Naïve, impressionable and scared are the girls, Joanne less so at the point the audience sees her at but by the end of the play you know that’s exactly where she started – just like Lisa and Amy.

Tessie Orange-Turner played Joanne amazingly. She was the main character, the one with the most dialogue and she performed everything so well. To keep up that much dialogue is hard enough but to keep up that much dialogue on the issue that it was about is incredible. Every word, every movement, every look had purpose and it was gripping, you wanted to hear her talk more, to uncover more secrets and explain why she is the way she is. Joanne is trapped, scared and only doing what she knows, what she’s always known. Is she a victim, or a predator? Both? Lines are blurred when it comes to Joanne’s character and the way she speaks and acts the audience can tell she’s struggling with her role, of who she is, who she wants to be. She’s desperate and alone. Tessie does an incredible job of playing Joanne and shows the complexity of her character so well.

Amy played by Esther-Grace Button is the youngest character in the play and it shows. Button plays her in a childish light that the audience can’t help but wonder how she got to become tied to Joanne. She wants to please Joanne, and Lisa, wants to do everything Joanne tells her to do just to try and prove she isn’t as young as she actually is. Throughout all the dark humour and even darker issues of the play Amy is that bit of light. She needs protecting and yet she keeps trying to impress Joanne, tries to take matters into her own hands at one point.

Last, and certainly not least, is Lisa played by Sarah Hoare. Lisa is, if possible, an even bigger enigma than what Joanne is. A nervous, on edge, quiet girl who seems to be want to be anywhere but where she is with Joanne and Amy. Questions, broken off by Joanne, un-answered questions that Lisa and the audience want desperately to be answered eventually are through Lisa’s sheer determination to know why and how. Lisa seems to come across as the most affected character in the play, even if that may not be true, she’s so clearly broken and scared it’s painful to watch. It’s hard to watch her struggle and question and plead – which Sarah does so well, shows just how much Lisa wants to know why as much as she wants to leave and never hear from Joanne again.

So many questions are raised during this play, some answered, some not. But all in all the play is deeply affective and shocking to the audience. It leaves the audience stunned when it finishes, silently questioning and wondering. It’s a play that will stick with you for a long time.

Written by Brogan Corcoran