Mr Churchill's Chocolate

Date 9th February 2024
Society Chesil Theatre (Winchester Dramatic Society)
Venue Chesil Theatre
Type of Production Youth Production
Director Sarah Jacobs
Written By Neil Thompson

Report

Author: Mark Allen

Not my first visit to this lovely little theatre based in an 11th Century Church, but my first visit to report on their Youth theatre. This was going to be a fun evening, the buzz from enthusiastic and supportive parents was quite evident. 

Mr Churchill's Chocolate is a short youth play written by Neil Thomson and is based during wartime Britain in the countryside and tells the story of the difficult interation between the children residents and the evacuees as they come to terms with each other. Throw in to the mix a group of "bird watchers" (or are they German spies...) and away we go.The story unfolds with explosive chocolate and how the two groups join together to thwart the spies, save Churchill and win the day.

The set was very simple, three crates and a few wooden chairs in the centre with six small flats (three either side) all used to great effect. All the cast, with ages from six or seven to around ten/eleven, were very enthsiastic in all their efforts. They all spoke clearly without too much rushing, which can sometime be csused by show nerves, but all seemed very well rehearsed by Director Sarah Jacobs and her team. The cast of sixteen were all used for scene changes and the downtimes and blackouts were kept at a minimum as the children raced across the stage with crates, chairs and a "parachute".

The costumes, depicting war-time youngsters were effective and authentic looking (sleeveless jumpers, white/beige shirts, shorts, braces, etc) added to the piece along with simple well designed lighting and the occaisional explosion, which the kids rected to well, and made one or two of the audience jump. 

As the Junior section of Chesil Youth Theatre, they accredited themselves very well, as they grow they will fit into the "senior" youth very well. Congratulations on a very creditable performance I look forward to the next performances to see how they're progressing.