Press Review


Tiverton Gazette


Tuesday July 26, 2011

Box of Tricks

Over 250 young people who attend Irene Holland's performing arts centre in Tiverton were given the chance to show off their ballet, tap, drama and singing skills in an evening of astonishing diversity and colour.

This year's annual showcase BOX OF TRICKS  lived up to, and exceeded the promise of such a title.  It was a performance packed with memorable and stylish tricks.  They may appear to be tricks, but they are achieved only by hard work and commitment from all involved.  Very young children danced, cartwheeled and sang alongside senior students, some of whom have achieved places for further study in established full time theatre schools.

Irene herself, appeared on stage, to riotous applause, to thank her dedicated and tireless staff - many of whom were once Willow Tree students.  After sparkling careers as performers, they have now returned to give back some of the wisdom she gave them.

The show was co ordinated throughout by Nathan Banks, a talented young performer who opened the box as it were, from which emerged scintillating number after number. Nathan also danced, spoke a fiendishly difficult monologue by Christopher Marlowe and sang as part of a 3-strong boy band, raising the roof and the audience's admiration.

Other memorable performances were given by Georgia Buckingham whose Pandora was a delight (Pandora opened the box of course when she shouldn't) and Mollie Shearman whose vivacity and diversity is remarkable.  Martha Dinsdale and Millie Chamberlain  are ballet dancers to watch. Esther Felix, Megan Macmillan and Emily Searle all have an eye catching sense of musical theatre. Natalie King has a great stage presence as do Ella Moore and Laura Fry  - dressed as dominoes! Amy Langdon and Abi Richardson both have a talent which caught my attention.

I wish I could name everyone, as every performer on that stage contributed to the success of the evening, however, space does not allow it.  Never the less, I must mention the thought and creativity that went in to the costumes designed and made by Denise James.  They were truly a box of tricks!   And after a programme of such intensity, one might wonder how any finale could create a fitting climax.   Needless to say, directed by choreographer Victoria Baldwin and singing tutor Heidi Manton, the evening's last number had the audience on its feet and ecstatic!

This show was a great achievement not only for the skills on display, but for its spirit and sense of community of which Tiverton should be enormously proud.  

By Amanda Knott