Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Review: Freckleface Strawberry the Musical

By Rachel Taylor

Take a blender. Throw in the energy of jiving and jitterbugging from the 50s, some gospel, a touch of heavy percussion, the sharp suits and tinkling pianos of the 20s, a little rap, some high-energy musical theatre, an explosion of colour, spots and stripes, sweet personalities and honest friendships. The result: you’ll be close to the joy that is “Freckleface Strawberry the Musical”.

The show sees the story of young Strawberry struggling with the freckles which often get her teased and trying to come to grips with how to be herself. Other characters join her in her struggle and support each other as they take the brave step to be who they really are.

Scottish Youth Theatre has done a remarkable job with the show’s Scottish premiere. Some of the cast run through quick costume (and character) changes, but every character is played in a way which is extremely genuine and believable. The whole cast tackle the various stylistic demands of the show seamlessly and choreography is slick and high in energy. The show runs from one number to the next with life and passion. Not only will you leave uplifted, smiling and feeling just that little bit braver in yourself, but you’ll be singing these happy, catchy tunes for days on end.

Freckleface Strawberry The Musical runs until 21 April, various times, at Scottish Youth Theatre. Tickets: £12/£8. Available online or by calling 0141 552 4267. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Review: Frida and Frosty

by Tara Fitzpatrick

A family friendly comedy, packed with contemporary references and easy-to-learn songs, Frida and Frosty is a performance certain to get your little ones in the festive spirit.  When we first meet Frosty the snowman, on a chilly Christmas Eve, it is clear that he is in need of some help. He must gain his third black button by Christmas Day or he will melt – a prospect too awful for him to bear.  Along with the assistance of Frida, a young girl who fears her prank-pulling may have landed her on Santa’s naughty list, and the audience – big and small – Frosty travels on a sing-along adventure to the North Pole.

The set design is one of the winning aspects of the performance. Welcoming the audience as they arrive at The Old Sheriff Court is a colourful, Christmas grotto certain to delight and enthral the young people as they await the beginning of the show. From here, the audience is led through the building to Frida’s back garden. Snow sprinkled trees surround a large square of grass where the children are invited to sit and where we first meet Frosty. However, the arrival in the North Pole is perhaps the most aesthetically impressive part of the performance. Led by Frosty and Frida, the audience are taken into a festive, all white, Brian Cox Studio complete with mountainous peeks and icicles. The use of screen projections and prosthetic, falling snow help to further set the scene. It is here that we are introduced to many exciting, diverse characters who teach us what life is really like in the freezing North Pole.

The personal, interactive input encouraged by this performance significantly differs from the traditional Christmas pantomime, which can be limiting in its audience participation due to the restraints of the raised stage. Here, the young people can embark upon the adventures alongside the characters working together to solve problems, play games and keep the snowman secret (the secret that snowmen and women can come to life). Although the colourful, festive costumes; friendly, buoyant characters and atmospheric set design are enough to attract the initial attention of the 3-7 year old audience – and their parents and guardians (the ‘Big Ones’) – it is the imagination and creativity of the young people themselves which help the performance to develop. But don’t just take my word for it: the laughter and eagerness of the young audience to contribute ideas and suggestions is a testament to the believability of the show’s characters and the engaging quality of the plot.  A sure-fire festive hit for all ages not to be missed!

Frida and Frosty runs until 30th December 2013, various times. Tickets are £7.50 (£24 for a family of four), available online or by calling 0141 552 4267. 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Review: Now's The Hour

By Rachel Taylor

What is Scotland?

That is the primary question posed by Scottish Youth Theatre's original piece, "Now's The Hour". However, it is not as simple a question as it seems. It necessarily involves the following questions:

What is Scotland now?
What was Scotland? What has she been?
What do we want her to be - and how do we get her there?

This engaging, sharp and thoroughly witty show is achingly raw and entirely honest. This is a group of young people, many of whom will cast their very first vote in next year's referendum and all of whom are grappling with the above questions.

It is a rare gem in preparation for next year's vote, as it presents an utterly unbiased view. Rather than pushing an agenda, it explores with thoroughness many of the issues which are necessarily involved with the debate. No real indication is given of how the actors intend to vote, but the open truth of the issues is presented and the audience are left to reach their own conclusions.

From a performance point of view, the show stands in a league of its own, requiring a relatively small principal cast to act, sing, dance and accent-hop, manage a show which covers everything from dance and movement to rib-aching comedy to sombre and moving deep thought...and it’s all managed with great skill.

This should be required viewing for everyone in the country before next year.

If you didn't have the chance to see Now's The Hour, you can still catch it at the Festival of Politics on Saturday 24 August in the Scottish Parliament. http://goo.gl/HxWFb

Friday, 2 August 2013

SF13 Guest Blogger - Brandon Logan

Hello! My name is Brandon Logan, from Stromness, Orkney Islands. I'm 17 years old.

I'm doing the 6-week Performance and Production Learning Programme. This is my first Summer Festival and the first time I'm involved with Scottish Youth Theatre.

I applied to do this course because I wanted to get the chance to perform on a professional stage and also to make lifelong friends! I'm very happy to see both happening. 

I'm playing the part of Lord Darnley in “Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off”.

My fundraising for the course went really well. I put on a show and I also did some bag packing in local stores.

Who would play me in the movie of my life? I think I’d do it myself!

Tickets for SF13 shows "Mary Queen Of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off" and "Now's The Hour" are now on sale. 6-10 August. To book please call 0141 552 4267 or visit our website.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

SF13 Guest Blogger - Scarlett Randle


My name is Scarlett Randle, 17 years old and I come from Newtonhill, Aberdeenshire.

I’m new to Scottish Youth Theatre. This is my first Summer Festival. I decided to apply for the Performance and Production Learning  Programme in order to improve my dramatic and musical skills, and of course to meet new people.

I’m in the cast of “Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off”, playing the part of La Corbie.

My fundraising efforts went surprising well. I managed to raise the full amount of my course fees! I organized some fundraising events such as a daffodil tea event and a murder mystery. Plus, I was lucky enough to receive a generous donation from Maersk Oil UK and from my school, Portlethen Academy.

I’d like Lilly Loveless to play me in the movie of my life. Or Shirley Carter – not really!

Tickets for SF13 shows "Mary Queen Of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off" and "Now's The Hour" are now on sale. 6-10 August. To book please call 0141 552 4267 or visit our website.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

SF13 Guest Blogger - Elliot Brown

My name is Elliot. Elliot Brown. I'm 16 years old, from Bishopbriggs.

I've been involved with Scottish Youth Theatre since 2002. This year, I'm doing the SQA credit rated Performance and Production Learning Programme.

My favourite thing about Summer Festival is that I get to do what I love the most, which is acting. Plus I get to meet so many new cool people. This year is quite special as I will be part of an exciting new show and get a qualification out of it.

I'm in the cast of “Now’s The Hour”. It’s a whole different experience devising a brand new piece of theatre and collaborating with a large cast of performers. I feel that I'm learning new skills every day. I'm still not sure about the independence referendum but I definitely feel much more engaged. Our hope is to make the audience feel that way too.

Who would play me in the movie of my life? Well, Ryan Gosling of course!

Tickets for SF13 shows "Mary Queen Of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off" and "Now's The Hour" are now on sale. 6-10 August. To book please call 0141 552 4267 or visit our website.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

SF13 Guest Blogger - James Charlton

Hello world!

I’m James Charlton, 16 years old, from Moffat.

This is my first ever Summer Festival. My course is the 5-week Performance and Production Course. I really look forward to meeting new people with similar interests with me. I feel I'm in the right place!

I'm in the cast of “Now’s The Hour”, which is a show about making the decision for Scotland’s future. That’s what we’d like to get across; to make the audience ask questions and hopefully find their own answers. We’d like to make them think “What would I do?”. I'm very happy to be part of a fresh, new, thought-provoking show about such an important matter.  

In terms of my fundraising efforts, I was awarded bursaries from the Ian Wardlaw Drama Trust and the Holywood Trust. 

In the movie of my life, I’d like… Robert Paterson to play me!

Tickets for SF13 shows "Mary Queen Of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off" and "Now's The Hour" are now on sale. 6-10 August. To book please call 0141 552 4267 or visit our website.