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InterACT Youth Theatre - Sparkleshark - A Review

Author: Nicola Sanderson Published: 15th May 2019 12:50

Sparkleshark by Phillip Ridley was presented by InterACT Youth Theatre on tour to Neston Civic Hall, Gladstone Theatre and Storyhouse, Chester.

This production of SPARKLESHARK was full of spark and life. InterACT'scast of committed young actors relished the humour in the script and delighted in the touchingly redemptive power of storytelling and the imagination. It's clear that the company enjoy playing characters of a broadly similar age to themselves and this brings a truthfulness to the performances that is hugely enjoyable to watch.

InterACT Youth Theatre - Sparkleshark - A Review

SPARKLESHARK is an ensemble piece with most of the characters on stage most of the time. The company seemed to have a very sure idea of the development of this fast moving story and were secure in their sharing
of it with the audience. SPARKLESHARK is a fast moving script and the company delivered pacey performances to match. Every character was well defined and fully rounded. The actors had clearly worked hard on back
stories and this level of detail paid off in performance. As a result they won the Youth Endeavour trophy at the Leverhulme Drama Festival.

Oliver Cunliffe's Jake was sensitive and thoughtful, an intelligent and mature performance. Oliver won the Best Actor award at the Leverhulme Drama Festival. I was impressed by Evie Lambert's command of the very wordy part of Polly. Flo Raven as Natasha has a feel for comedy and revealed movingly the pathos beneath her brashness. Joshua Stevens gave us a very funny Russell, full of self confidence and brio. Emily Houghton's Carol was touching and amusing in her ‘wannabe' ness and deserves special credit for keeping upright in those heels. The double act of Annalise Hope and Zachary Gaballa as Buzz and Speed, they caught the right level of goofiness and threat in the characters. It's very difficult when it's mayhem around you to keep your own character's different energy going and Caiden Marley demonstrated beautifully that 'still is strong'. Aaron Winstanley's Finn was a treat, working his muscled costume to good comic effect.

InterACT Youth Theatre - Sparkleshark - A Review

The setting of the tower block roof was designed with found objects, cleverly placed to provide lots of different levels for the action. In some shows this can look bitty but here each object had a relevance in the story telling. The cast navigated the stage well and used both props and levels to good effect. A simple and effective lighting plot from Janet A Cantrill added atmosphere without intruding on the reality of the roof top setting. I liked the addition of a sound score, sympathetically and smartly curated by Jonathan Stevens.

Overall a tight focused, well directed production that elicited genuine laughs from the audience and took us on a proper journey with the characters.

Nicola Sanderson


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