The culmination of Dewsbury Arts Group’s Youth Theatre drama classes this season was a two-night presentation of three contrasting plays in the Artspace Theatre.
Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations, by Alan Ayckbourn and presented by the first year group, tells of young Ernie Fraser’s peculiar daydreaming in which his imaginings actually happen.
Ernie, played by Zenon Brzoza, conjures up a wealth of unlikely situations featuring his family and friends. Worried Mum and Dad (Bethany Stevenson and William West) consult the doctor with no success. Haroon Iqbal plays the bewildered doctor, and a whole host of ‘cameo’ characters were brought to life by the enthusiastic cast. This was as production full of enthusiasm and verve.
By contrast, Ambush by David Foxton had a more solemn tone, relying greatly on the creation of tension and confrontations among a group of young ‘freedom fighters’ who have retreated from an ambush situation and taken refuge in a seemingly abandoned house.
Annie Storey’s portrayal of Zed, the leader, showed her vulnerability as she was suitably unsure of her colleagues and her ability. Lucy-Mae Curtin and Ellie Wright were critical of Zed’s leadership and their antagonism towards her and to each other was very powerful.
Sasha Haigh and Jessica Alexis were sound foot soldiers, taking orders though uncertain of their position. Bethany Smith as Vic tried to bring sense to their situation, while Mason Fawcett, as Seb, coped with ministering to the wounded Nye, (Nathan Wood) whose realistic suffering added to the whole scenario.
Ambush is a serious piece of theatre needing strong belief and commitment from a cast working together – and it received just that.
The final play, You Only Call Me When It’s Late, was a new play written by former youth class member Matt Bailey, which explores the world of local radio broadcasting.
In a series of quick-fire scenes, we are shown the phone-ins and the equally cut-throat presenters, producers, and would-be celebrities. Daniel Lee was a suitably laidback and disenchanted late-night programme presenter, as well as a lugubrious bus driver. Abi Douglas and Sophie Starmer formed a threatening duo, while Amy Douglas’s director Ms Bunting had the necessary authority.
As Lizzie, the new girl on the block, Aimie Allen had the right amount of enthusiasm and apprehension for the job, ultimately proving her worth.
All remaining characters were played by the cast, including Alice Disken, Phoebe Forde, Emily Renton, Hannah Holmes and Laura Farrow. This was an intriguing insight with disconcerting accuracy.