The Demon Headmaster
24th March 2018
The Studio, Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds
Type of Production
Author: Christine Castle
School was never like this for me - my head was a lady, inspiring and kind - very different to the Headmaster in this production, the play based on the books by Gillian Cross, adapted for the stage by Adrian Flynn. This Demon Head, wearing dark glasses and being thoroughly nasty, hypnotised his pupils to do his bidding - his real aim, to take over the world, assisted by a few prefects, only to be thwarted by Dinah, an orphan, who is fostered to a family with two sons.
Making his directorial debut with LCT, Dan Dainter directed this production very cleverly and with a lot of experience. The Carriageworks Studio is not the easiest of spaces to present productions - it's small and the cast have to play in close proximity to the audience - this did not phase this cast one bit, especially the children. Dan used some brilliant staging, seamlessly keeping the action flowing - the cast made entrances and exits like magic - and talking of which, the props department used some truly amazing special effects which really enhanced the production -'magic plates' upon which food disappeared and giant bottles of sauces, not to mention the enormous chip!
The young cast worked well together - Lexie Nash as Dinah, acted assuredly, along with Jamie Gardener and Oscar Wajdner, as her foster brothers, Lloyd and Harvey - good comedy from these two. The awful Prefects, led by Kezia Hall as Rose, were terrifyingly good - I knew prefects like these! On the adult side, the part of the Demon Headmaster was played excellently in the experienced hands of Bernard Wilson; I was scared! Dinah's foster parents, Janine Walker and Shayne Hall, gave their roles great depth - it is so good for the younger members of cast to work with them and the other adult cast of this quality, to watch and learn. I must also mention young Max Platten as Eddy Hair, an oddball TV game show host - a very energetic and well-drawn character (and I loved the wig!). Each and every one of the young cast worked as a team and it was delightful to watch them all.
The creative team, led by Mark Smith, did an excellent job in all departments - what dedication these people have! Without these marvellous people, this type of production couldn't go ahead - and Leeds would be a boring city without youth theatre of this calibre.
My sincere congratulations to you all - keep up these wonderful standards, top of the class, yet again!