I'm Just Saying...
26th October 2012
As part of NewcastleGateshead's award winning Juice festival for children and young people, Live Theatre have given an amazing opportunity to six 12-13 year old students of Excelsior Academy in Scotswood, to tell the world what is in their heads...and more importantly what is in their hearts.
So six new and exciting playwrights telling us what is in their imagination acted out by professional actors and members of Live's Youth Theatre team.
The One And Lonely, written by Arif Milah was the journey of life in one days of a school boy faced with the tasks of being almost parent like at home. Coping with looking after his siblings, getting them fed, watered and ready for the day ahead. That for most people is a days work in itself, but he then had to dust himself down and head off to school, where inevitably lateness would creep up on him. His form teacher would berate him for this, but in the interaction between them both on stage, his tale would unravel with passion and anxiety, bringing the teacher almost to her knees in arms length sympathy.
Chris Foley, as the schoolboy did an amazing job of it on stage, having been drafted in at almost the last minute as a replacement for the ill Dean Logan. Chris had the script in hand, but rarely needed to acquaint with it, such was the professionalism of his trade.
Sharon Percy played the stern but almost forgiving teacher with great style and poise. Sharon is a very versatile actress and has helped out the Youth team with great affect.
Obsessive, written by Alex Dowson is the tale of a young girl, having had a blood transfusion, but being totally taken over by the DNA of a Dracula blood sucking Goth character. Her run-ins with her mother over her obsessive Selena Gomez fixation lead to friction abounds.
Great acting from both Louise Ross and Cheryl Dixon kept the audience in both stiches and on the edge of their seats.
Michaela's Mistake, written by Chelsey Cleminson is all about the pitfall of social media networking, who to add, who to accept and who is pulling the wool over our eyes.
Natalie Ann Jamieson performed an amazing monologue tale of a young schoolgirl excited by the words and the mental imagery of a new addition to her Facebook collection -a fellow schoolboy telling her everything she wanted and needed to hear about her appearance her looks and her dress sense. This gave her hope and a little springy step in her life. What seems real however sometimes turns out to be fake and dangerous, putting lives at risk and ending the hope scenario for a lot of vunerable girls and to a lot of extent boys too.
This story has a very powerful message message, one that I am pleased to have heard is going to be commissioned to do a school tour in the North East. If school children can be saved from the same distress as we witnessed then that is a brilliant step forward. Chelsey and her family must be so proud.
Chewbacca Stole My wife, written by the inventive Kieran Sanderson, was the coming to blows of two male neighbours separated by bricks and mortar, but joined by the fact that one of them had, as the title suggests, stole the other ones wife. The two were locked in battle of words every time they came face to face, in the super market, or outside their respected abodes. Throwing put downs and belittling each other was commonplace for them, with the humour and emotional tirades coming down on them like a ten ton hammer.
The dialogue was stunning, akin to a professional writer of triple the age of Kieran, with the acting of Chris Connel and Joe MacCabe being of the highest order. The props department and again the mind of Kieran deserved a standing ovation alone for the bread stick scenario in the supermarket, I will always chuckle when I am munching on my next BLT. Well done..!!
Chicken Pox Blues, written by Ellie Perry, is the heart-warming story of love, honour and sisterhood. Rivalry between them didn't just mean how much of the duvet they commanded or which one was liked better by their parents, but also the same boy, and the same trouble that he bore. A secret stash of money almost tears them apart further, but from the beginning of almost hatred between them this tale slowly descended into something that is so believable especially in times where family need to stick together and sock it the man.
Emma Crowley Bennet and Rachael Teate, perfectly played the sisters in love and war, with again a great stage set up.
The final piece of the night was my favourite and funniest thing I have seen in quite some time. Super Copper, written by Jordan Fowler, Mother and son (I think, as to be honest I was laughing so much and so hard that I missed a lot of the dialogue, that says a lot about Jordan's work) are berating each other over what is best for the son. She has dreamt of him becoming a policeman, he wants to be a dancer, and camp it up on every dance floor in the land, no agreement can be made until a theft of their rent money leads him to pursue the culprit and dance the money back. This in turn leads to mother and son being complete in unison, with the best of both worlds coming to a head.
Lewis Jobson, was manically fantastic as the campest dancer this side of Louie Spence! His movement was sublime and as I said before my laughter at this was huge (Lewis told me afterwards that he tried not to look at me as he would have laughed too) as was the rest of the audience.
Phillipa Wilson played the caring mother, she was as hilarious in the look for the culprit, very very funny.
This was one of my best nights at the theatre that I have had in a while, the inventiveness of the young writers combined with the superb acting skill is something that was a total pleasure to witness...and hey for you lot to go along it is only £8...get your wallets out, and support these superb happenings.
I'm Just Saying... plays until Sunday 28th October.