‘ Young Reviewers’- this month’s Harrogate Theatre winner

NADV 1212175AM Young reviewers at HT. Graham Chalmers,Jordan Wright(18), Ellen Carnazza(16), Rupert Hatton (16) and HT's Hannah Draper. Picture : Adrian Murray. (1212175AM)
NADV 1212175AM Young reviewers at HT. Graham Chalmers,Jordan Wright(18), Ellen Carnazza(16), Rupert Hatton (16) and HT's Hannah Draper. Picture : Adrian Murray. (1212175AM)
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Would-be young reviewers in the district’s schools are being mentored by Harrogate Theatre and the Harrogate Advertiser in an exciting new Young Reviewers scheme, writes Graham Chalmers.

Helmed by the theatre’s Education Workshop Leader, Hannah Draper, the pick of the bunch this month was a review by Ellen Carnazza of King James’s School, Knaresborough of a production of The Animals and Children Took to the Streets .

By Ellen Carnazza

The Animals and Children Took to the Streets, Harrogate Theatre

Ingeniously original and completely captivating, watching The Animals and Children Took to the Streets is like stepping into a brilliantly illustrated novel.

Theatre company 1927, takes us on a dark but thoroughly enjoyable journey into the streets of the Bayou where we meet a colourful array of criminals and outcasts.

When Agnes Eaves, a do-gooding, naïve mother, and her cartoon daughter move into Red Herring Street, they find their mission to tame the wild children of the Bayou mansions using only dried pasta bows and PVA glue does not quite go to plan.

The seamless blending of animation and acting makes you lose yourself in the surreal, mysterious world created by the outstanding trio of performers: Suzanne Andrade, Esme Appleton and Lillian Henley. They bring each character to life so vividly that it is easy to forget there are only three actors.

Judging by the laughs and giggles erupting from the audience, the most-loved character of all appears to be the unloved Caretaker, created through a voice over that sounds very like Alan Rickman and Suzanne Andrade’s perfect characterisation.

Andrade is also the writer so must also be applauded for a fantastic script bursting with dark, witty humour that underlines the social commentary being made throughout the 70 minutes.

She manages to cover the inequality between rich and poor as well as themes of injustice and idealism, while still remaining remarkably funny.

This along with Henley’s eerie but immensely catchy music creates a perfect piece of theatre. I only wish it went on longer.

The excellent choreography must have taken hours but all the hard work has paid off. The performers and Paul Barritt’s imaginative animation are completely in sync, making the whole production incredibly slick and beautiful.

I have never seen anything quite like it. An unmissable experience.