And now… the verdict!

What, only five starts from the Evening News?  Now, I have to say I’m getting fed up of being called old.  First ‘pops’ then an advertising veteran and now an actor ‘no longer in the first flushes of youth.’  Is it a conspiracy?

Last night was an immense experience culminating in a standing ovation.  Really, you had to be there…  And you know what?  We’re sold out (apart from a few tickets left for Saturday afternoon).


FCT: Ya Beauty *****, Churchill Theatre

KIDS get short shrift these days. It’s almost as if the rest of society wants them to loiter in bus shelters, just so they are to able to say those immortal words, ‘I told you so’ whenever things go wrong.
If today’s teenagers are often singled out as being lazier, less educated and ruder than any generation that came before them, anyone sitting in the Churchill Theatre last night may beg to differ on the evidence presented by the Forth Children’s Theatre as they staged their 30th anniversary show.

For any criticism of modern youngsters would be to pay the hard work, tenacity and talent of the kids in the FCT a complete disservice, particularly when some of their choral numbers could only be described as West End worthy.

To celebrate three decades of song, dance and youthful enthusiasm, the FCT have brought together a 70-strong cast, made up of children and music from every generation of the company, to perform an assortment of their favourite show tunes.

While some of the original children, such as Mark Gorman, son of late FCT founder Peter Gorman, and Geraldine DePonio may no longer be in the first flush of youth, they certainly made up for their relative decrepitude with a host of nostalgic on stage antics.

Sadly, however, the age and experience of a misspent adulthood proved no match for youth and exuberance though, and the group’s teenage members left many of their elders in the dust.

While seasoned actors Greg Sinclair, as an adorably geeky Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors, and Kerry-Ann Rae, as Annie’s devious Miss Hannigan, showed the young upstarts how a few years of further education will help develop a gift; It was the 10 to 20 age group that really dazzled on the stage.

Displaying a worrying lack of first-night nerves, the cast launched into a diverse blend of big numbers only minutes into the first act.

Covering some of musical theatre’s most challenging and popular songs they deftly worked their way through Jekyll and Hyde’s Façade, The Boyfriend’s Never Too Late and Oh! What a Lovely War’s emotive and moving Keep The Home Fires Burning.

Ensemble piece, The Ballad of Sweeny Todd, showcased superbly the ability of the group to utilise the vocal and acting ability of adult cast members while enticing excellent performances from the younger players in the chorus.

With a large female cast, many of the set pieces were designed specifically for several outstanding young sopranos.

Not to be outdone, the boys surprised with mature and expressive performances, Matthew Smith and Ronan Radin standing out.

An honourable mention must also go to Andrew Dyer’s Lucio from Romeo and Juliet. His was a lesson in introducing Shakespeare that many English teachers might wish to take note of.

A directorial team, taking turns in directing and choreographing each sequence, kept the segments of the show flowing effortlessly into one and other, although an obvious lack of rehearsal time in the auditorium meant that the some of the opportunities to use the space more effectively were lost.

Let’s just hope that none of these kids get their big break too soon, thus depriving Edinburgh’s amateur theatre of some wonderful up and coming talent.