Royal and Derngate Youth Theatre
Royal and Derngate
I was privileged to attend the Saturday performance of DNA by Dennis Kelly. Under the direction of Christopher Gorry I was treated to a well thought out; well cast production full of humour, dark thoughts and deeds and great acting.
My first mention must surely go to Sound Designer, Martin Thompson and Lighting Designer James Delamere for scaring me out of my seat at the very beginning. Gentlemen, you got my full attention!
There were a number of members of the cast whose faces I had seen a few times before but some whose were fresh to my gaze.
As in most productions there are some people whose performance really stood out and not necessarily due to the size of their part. The first of these was Rebecca Kilby-Smith as Cathy. Rebecca is blessed with a remarkable face that can show huge differences of emotion with just the slightest muscle movement. Delightfully indifferent to the death of their friend at first before finally becoming quite sinister and malevolent at the end, Rebecca was at her very best.
One of the smaller parts was that of Bryony played this night by Hannah York. A week weeping creature transformed into a semi hysterical laughing girl, rubbing the bark and earth happily into her face as her mind frays and finally disintegrates, Hannah was remarkable. Quite how she kept up the insane laughing and giggling I do not know.
Esther Taylor was a new name and face to me. (Forgive me Esther if I have seen you before. I am getting old!). As Leah, she failed miserably to have a dialogue with her boyfriend Phil (Jay Head) but delivered perfectly monologue after monologue as the play progressed. She sometimes raved, often rambled as she tried to get some sort of response out of the perpetually hungry Phil. Thanks to her and her character I know much more than I ever wished to know about certain members of the ape family! Fantastic performance Esther: you were blessed with some of the best lines but you it was your delivery that made them work.
The previously mentioned Jay Head as Phil, was right at the beginning the envy of every member of the audience as we sat and perspired, he sat and really enjoyed an ice cream. Boy, did he enjoy that Ice cream! He also managed to tuck away crisps, waffles and a lovely looking muffin. Jay must have been starving himself for the 24hrs before as he tucked in with gusto, while sitting totally impassive and unmoved by those sitting next to him speaking directly to him. I think Phil was lucky Leah didn’t punch his lights out for ignoring her.
This was a lovely performance by all involved and my apologies if you have not had a mention by name but the sum of the parts truly do make up the whole and there was not bad performance to be seen.
Director Christopher Gorry continues to get the best out of his young actors and some 6 months into his position, it is great to see the group tacking such different pieces.
I have to admit it was not until I was home that I realised the meaning behind “Cast X and Cast Y” in the programme. What a really nice subtle touch!
Thank you everyone, on stage and behind the scenes for a very entertaining and enjoyable evening. Take a bow. You all deserve it!