Edinburgh Fringe 2010
The Servant to Two Masters
Grand Youth Theatre Company
Venue: The Spaces at the Radisson
"Blackpool’s newly-created Grand Youth Theatre Company makes its Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut with Carlo Goldoni’s classic 18th-century commedia, ‘A Servant to Two Masters’, in a new translation by Lee Hall. "
If you are an Italian nobleman wanting to give a false name what better could you choose than Signor Fuselli Arabiata? It made me hungry to hear more.
And so this cheeky adaptation continued – and the perky, committed acting of one and all beautifully reflected the script without in any way losing a sense of period. This production is very funny indeed and I laughed loud and long.
The Grand Youth Theatre Company from Blackpool is a new youth theatre and this is their first production – and they certainly have hit the ground running. This strong group play with certainty and with panache and the dialogue and speeches are spoken with intelligence and clarity throughout. An excellent sound track and good costuming were quite enough to create the period and the bare stage only enhanced our focus on character and text..
Of course there are variations in technical expertise within the cast but the comedia style and intricacies of the plot are clearly understood and relished by one and all. Having said that the performances of four members of the Company stand out and demand to be mentioned as their professional potential is undoubted. All four clearly have the instinct and intuition and the feeling for comedy that cannot be taught but can be fully released by technical training. After giving the usual dire warnings of what a difficult career professional theatre can be, I would feel no guilt or hesitation in recommending that they should give professional theatre a go.
Tom Leach as Truffaldino showed a very quick wit, charm and imagination, and his asides were masterly. Both physically and intellectually he knew exactly where he was at. Here is a leading actor in the making. Daniel Suddaby in the supporting role as the Porter is a natural comedian and, like Tommy Cooper, he just makes you want to laugh before he even opens his mouth – and when he does his comic inflection, the twinkle of his eye and the curl of his lip have you in fits. Smeraldina (Amy Clark) is also very funny indeed. A cumly, confident parcel of humorous womanhood who knows just what she wants but needs protection and a cuddle at the same time – and she knows a thing or two about handling a Restoration soliloquy. Finally Lydia Bourhill, in a commanding performance as Beatrice, was as gutsy a man as you could wish (she must do Principal Boy somewhere!) and as vulnerable a lover as ever lovers were vulnerable. I enjoyed all the cast without exception, but, given the unpredictable hand of Chance, these four stand out as certain pros of the future.
The Classics make great demands on vocal technique and hopefully this new Youth Theatre will focus on voice training, for of all an actor’s skills this is the first to sort out.
On this showing The Grand Youth Theatre Company from Blackpool is a youth theatre to watch.