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Reviews / Drama festival ends as a true masterpiece

Shetland County Drama president Kevin Briggs, awards the Minnie Wright Trophy to Izzy Swanson, John Haswell and Kari Williamson. Photo: Keith Morrison   

FRIDAY NIGHT saw the final three shows of this year’s Shetland County Drama Festival being performed at the Garrison Theatre, and it seems that the best was saved until last, writes Shetland News reviewer Bertie Summers.

Anderson High School drama group put on Killing Death, a cowboy style murder tale. Set in an outlaw desert scene in Texas, there were three foolish desperados (Seth, Spike, and Scar) who liked to really misbehave.

They were played by Elliot Taylor, Ava Paten, and Molly Goudie, who all attempted hilarious Southern USA accents.

An old man (Evelyn Palmer Johnson) is found sitting and shielding his face with a pink sombrero hat. It becomes imminently clear that these three desperados are not really friends, as one purchases rat poison from a shopkeeper (Martha Robertson) to kill the other two and get all the gold coins for themself.

However, these other two start to get suspicious and shoot and kill the treacherous gang member who bought the rat poison. But this does not stop them from eating the sandwiches made for them, which contained rat poison.

Getting ill the Old Man reveals himself as a living dead person, before executing the two remaining desperados. He then ends it by saying: “You should never go looking for death. Death will always find you.”

Ina (Helen Budge) is hugely excited about the upcoming wool week. Photo: Malcolm Younger/Millgaet Media

This is followed by a production from the Shetland Section, Never Fret, Nae Need Tae Spret, by the Brenna Players.

Ina (Helen Budge) and Aggie (Katherine Sandison) are two women hugely enthusiastic about knitting and are undoubtedly very excited about the upcoming wool week.

They discuss certain phrases in Shetland dialect that they would like to teach to other people they meet there. This includes “makking yer socks”, which means “knitting your knitting”. It has nothing to do with the English word ‘socks’.

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Aggie definitely showed her courageous side, by declaring that she would attempt to knit a woolly hat with the Shetland flag on it, as well as themes from Up Helly Aa.

The best part of this second show came when Ina delivered a line with awkward syntactical ambiguity. She mentioned that a man from Shetland slept on the same mattress as Victoria Beckham, before clarifying that he had slept on the same TYPE of mattress as Beckham.

The Open Door Drama Group put on the third and final show of the night and the whole drama festival week. Set in the 1970s Murder at Hayfield House, by Barnum and the Boyes, was a phenomenal murder mystery.

Staying Alive by the Bee Gees is played, before Thomas Colleymoore (Kari Williamson) arrives, speaking in a posh voice. He accuses Charles Hayfield (Barnum Smith) of having “second thoughts about the wedding” with Thomas’ sister, Florence (Martha Robertson).

A scene from Murder at Hayfield House. Photo: Keith Morrison

However, Thomas stretches out the ‘e’ sound in ‘second’, to make it seem as if he is going to use another word beginning in ‘se’. This joke, though, is quickly foreshadowed by the sudden realisation that Charles has been murdered.

As this production is connected to The Play That Goes Wrong, there are several deliberate mistakes. Thomas declares he is removing a notepad from the room, but it is obvious that he is holding a lava lamp.

To add to the side-splitting deliberate mistakes, Perkins successfully gets all his lines correct, before saying “Exits”, and then exiting, after realising that that word was an instruction and not a line.

For a short while, Amelia Boyes is playing the part of Florence Colleymoore (instead of Martha Robertson), as Thomas opens the door so violently that she gets bashed in the head and falls into a coma, before being carried out of the window by the “dead” Charles.

Because Perkins is unable to get his lines right, everybody who is still left keeps saying exactly the same things many times, before this gaffe eventually gets fixed.

Finally, Charles bursts in to reveal himself at the right time, after Inspector Carter revealed he tried to kill Charles, who was the only one that could have exposed his embezzling. Charles just did not drink the poison that Carter gave him. Just as it looks as if Carter (the villain) will be defeated, the whole house collapses and Charles wishes it could have ended differently. Cecil steals the show when the bowing commences.

I have scarcely seen anything as brilliantly funny as this, and the whole drama festival finished with the best of the eighteen plays.

As this was the final night of the week’s festival, adjudicator Jim Gibson expressed his very positive opinions on the effectiveness of that night’s shows. Everybody did a truly fantastic job, and they all thoroughly deserved the prizes.

The winners in the various sections were:

  • Junior Individual Cup – Willow Duncan, A Queen’s Tale, Sound Primary School
  • Youth Section – Open Door Drama Youths, A Melodrama
  • Youth Individual Shield – Martha Robertson, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Open Door Drama
  • Shetland Section – Ronas Drama, Spice Up Your Sandwiches
  • Shetland Dialect Adult Individual Shield – Lorraine Peterson, Spice Up Your Sandwiches, Ronas Drama
  • Best Original Dialect Script – Willie Robertson, Spice Up Your Sandwiches, Ronas Drama
  • Best Original Non-Dialect Script – Kevin Briggs,
  • Adult Open Section – A Muse Amuses, Scalloway Players
  • Adult Individual Shield – John Haswell, A Muse Amuses, Scalloway Players
  • First Time Producer – Kirsty Budge, Never Fret, Nae Need Tae Spret, Brenna Players
  • Best Stage Presentation – Midsummer Nights Dream, Open Drama Drama
  • Most Merritorious – A Melodrama, Open Door Drama Youths
  • Best Entertainment – Spice Up Your Sandwiches, Ronas Drama
  • Overall Points Winner – A Muse Amuses, Scalloway Players

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