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Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Youth Theatre Reviews


Genre: Community Theatre




Low Down

This page has been created to showcase particular productions brought to the Fringe by Youth Theatre Groups. These productions have been attended by our regular reviewers who have, for whatever reason, been unable to award the 3 stars necessary for publication in the usual space. However, we believe that the producers of these shows have earned a space in the spotlight and for that reason you can find digests below. We have deliberately avoided any negative comment, looking instead for what was best, brightest and had most potential in each. We hope that this will be useful both for producers and audiences.   


Title: The Complex: Electra
Group: Terrible Edgar
Venue: theSpace on the Mile 
Date: 14-18 August
Reviewer: Dan Lentell
Terrible Edgar, a group attached to the ADC Theatre, Cambridge, has adapted Sophocles’ masterpiece so as to explore the characters and themes in a post-Freudian context. Gone is the pomp of the royal court in Argos. Terrible Edgar’s approach is domestic in style. They have rendered Electra as a troubled teen, struggling to accept or even comprehend events around her. Electra is sleeping in the yard, driven from indoors by the nightly soundscape of her mother and stepfather making love. She is unwashed and unreachable. The return of her lost brother is the spark which ignites her passion into furious vengeance.
On the one hand, purists might have wished for a closer adherence to the classical text, on the other, this is a very insightful and contemporary study of the main character. The deep reflection that has gone into Sophocles’ underlying themes is not consistently matched by the performers on stage. However, Sarah Livingstone in the title role gives a tight and pacy performance that is well matched by Hellie Cranney’s Clytemnestra.
This is a production with a lot of potential in need of some basic and fine tuning. It is a thought-provoking take on an ancient classic as well as a useful reminder that the endurance of Greek theatre down the ages is a product of their timeless themes.
Title: Aida The Musical
Group: Spotlites Theatre Company Presents Spotlites Youth Theatre
Venue: Spotlites at the Merchants’ Hall 
Date: 12-14 August
Reviewer: Paul Levy
Spotlites Youth Theatre take on the Elton John and Tim Rice West End Hit and bring it to the Edinburgh Fringe. Some last minute stepping into the breach added to the challenge on this first night!
For the uninitiated, here we have the story of a love triangle rendered in rock musical. A cast aged between 14 and 17 inhabit the show with a live band accompanying offstage. We’re soon back in time to ancient Egypt, and costume, set and production values are all helping us to imagine the setting and the story.
The cast meet the challenges of score, libretto, choreography and story with commitment and concentration. Some of the speaking needs a bit more projection and clarity but the emotional content is carried off impressively. Anger, tenderness, passion and joy are carried both in the spoken and sung words.
I’m not a fan of mentioning individuals in ensemble cast shows. The entire company deserve congratulations for staying focused, for some very tight dancing to some challenging choreograhy.
FringeReview reviews professional theatre year-round and judges all shows on the basis. This production shows much potential in working towards that standard. They should be proud. This is a creditable production of Aida that offers up the story accessibly and with care. This is a youth company full of promise and diversity in the talent base.
Numbers such as My Strongest Suit are choreographed and delivered with much skill and pizazz.   Elaborate Lives is sung in duet very well indeed. With movement the strength, followed by the singing, it’s the spoken dialogue that will benefit from better clarity and projection as these young performers develop. A bit of breathing work should release hidden reserves of volume and oomph. There’s a fairly big cast in this production and, as an ensemble, they worked together very well – plenty of eye contact ensured they were in touch with each other. More self-belief will come with age, and those voices and gestures will really burst forth. But much potential here and, for a first night, well done indeed.
More reviews of Youth Theatre to follow.