26th June 2017
Osset Town Hall
Type of Production
Author: Geoffrey Haywood
This is a most unusual story about Dr Barnado and how he came to establish his now well known organisation for destitute and homeless children. He is intent on becoming a missionary to China but a chance meeting with the urchins of the streets of London where his medical bag is stolen changes his outlook and focuses it on the immediate problems of the unwanted, unloved and yet very street wise gangs of children roaming about the area.
The story is named after a young lad who is called Carrots on account of his flaming red hair and he states that as far as he knows he has no other name.
Grace Wassell, playing this part showed great character as the cheeky youngster acting and singing the part with gusto and pathos especially when caught and imprisoned overnight. Carrots dies at the end of Act 1 as a result of Barnado refusing to let him stay in the building through the night, thus giving rise to the motto that no child shall ever be turned away. The ghost of Carrots appears in Act 2 encouraging Barnardo to continue his good work and culminates in his appearance on the balcony of the theatre looking down on the closing scene.
William Fealy as Barnado gave a polished performance showing an understanding of the part and of the problems faced. Syrie (Madison Margini), Barnado’s fiancée, later to become his wife was sympathetic in her role and supported Barnado through his dilmmas.
Thomas Carruthers as the policeman and Calum Broadbent as Lord Shaftesbury were good in their supporting roles whilst the other members of the cast mainly the street urchins were excellent showing anger, enthusiasm and downright cheek throughout. Their chorus work and dancing was of a very high standard.
However, Eliza Keane as Nobby the leader of the gang was for me the outstanding one on the stage. Good stage presence with superb singing and dancing she is destined to be one of the leading lights of this society in the not too distant future when she progresses to the senior ranks.
The lighting and scenery were of a high standard, costumes were excellent and the music provided by a small group of players never intruded into the action but complemented it.
Gillian Shelton, the director has been with the players for a considerable number of years and this is certainly a good production from her.