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Reviews / ‘Pure comedy gold’ as drama festival continues to delight

Rachel Versus Bone Crusher the Mighty by Open Door Drama youth group . All photos: Malcolm Younger/Millgaet Media

AUDIENCES enjoyed a second night of remarkable shows as this year’s Shetland County Drama Festival continues at the Garrison Theatre, writes Shetland News reviewer Bertie Summers.

First on stage on Tuesday were Open Door Drama youth group with the play Rachel Versus Bone Crusher The Mighty.

Bella Smith (Rachel) was very loud and clear in her performance of a spoiled girl who thinks she has nothing and nobody whatsoever.

The hilarious screaming and shouting in this show was fabulous, as was the extremely coherent and unambiguous voice of Willow Boyes (Princess).

She was fantastic with her contemptuous mocking towards Simon the Bone Crusher, played by Magnus Keith.

Eventually, the Bone Crusher learns to be more peaceful and mature. It was heart-warming to see the clever and cunning Rachel reform him and turn him into ‘Simon the gentle giant’.

Kidnapped by Pirates by Aith Junior High School.

This was followed by a rendition of Kidnapped by Pirates by Aith Junior High School. It was simply hilarious to see these extremely ditzy four girls argue over whether or not one of them was captured by pirates.

The cast for this production included Amber Johnson, Edith Feiff, Tamzin Doull and Bethan Everett, all of whom attempted very vivid and convincing voices.

The manic delusion of everybody involved was joyful to watch, especially as these girls could not figure out if one of them had been taken to a farm by a pirate or someone’s auntie.

After this, Brae High School performed the spooky science fiction tale The Probability Portal. Scary, eerie and ominous music at the very beginning helps to emphasise the dark tone throughout.

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Probability Portal by Brae High School

There are apparently many different multiverses which exist and initially, a scientist (Izzy Swanson) uses this portal to bring in an artist (Alfie Thomson) to help her in the future.

He is swiftly joined by British Queen Boudiccea (Keira Thomas), Ancient Roman god Julius (Freddie Archer) and an American Confederate general (Ronin Tulloch).

What made this sticky situation wonderfully light-hearted and funny was the bitter and immature rivalry between Boudiccea and Julius, over the former’s bloodthirsty intention to kill the Romans who took her land away from her.

To make it even better, the artist can be seen to be dancing to disco music towards the end, so ostentatiously that the audience rightly cheers wildly.

This story finishes with the scientist despairingly sending everybody else back through the Probability Portal and deleting all evidence that the whole thing ever happened.

Finally, Open Door Drama Group put on a slightly modified version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. Martha Robertson plays the part of Hermia, a young woman forced to marry Demetrius (Frances Black).

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Open Door Drama

Amelia (Moth) and Willow Boyes (Mustardseed) were, once again, among those delivering brilliantly funny and childish taunting body language and facial expressions.

I would like to take this as a chance to congratulate Amelia and Willow Boyes, as well as Freddie Archer (among others) for their performances in two different productions, which undoubtedly required many lines to learn and rapid costume changes.

Lysander (Thomas Merrett) and Hermia are having a difficult and awkward relationship, which becomes even more tumultuous when Helena (Kelly Nicol) slaps the newly-awoken Lysander in the face.

This gives way to a fierce love battle between Lysander, Helena, Hermia and Demetrius, finishing with Lysander insulting Hermia with hilarious name-calling (“minimalist”, “acorn”, etc).

What also made this traditionally serious tale so amusing was the hysterical false high-pitched voice that Kevin Briggs spoke in during their own “play”, whilst being dressed in a blonde wig and pink dress.

To give this bizarre twist on Shakespeare literature its final cherry on the cake, Nick Bottom (played by Gary McAllister) gave a hugely melodramatic speech at the end. This sent everybody in the crowd into roaring laughter, as the cast bowed to traditional folk dancing music.

I cannot wait to see what is in store for tonight’s (Wednesday) performances, after the pure comedy gold that I have seen so far.

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