For Families Reviews

Evacuees by Martin Beard - The Young REC Drama School


A brilliant show performed by kids, for kids (and their families!) It was thoroughly enjoyable and provided an intriguing insight into the lives of children evacuated during the war. It revealed the hardships faced by evacuees, fear of the Blitz and the sadness of family separation whilst also allowing for comedy and fun - a true reflection of real life. The play is a beautifully crafted piece with sub-plots which relate perfectly to today's younger generation: personal journeys of self- discovery and the development of true friendships underlie the main story.

The young actors were excellent in adopting roles from a different era and excelled in many other areas: voice projection and the use of accents were superb as was the awareness of the audience. In the context of the play, however, the three leading ladies (who adopted roles as the playwright and two musicians) were truly fantastic. I congratulate the whole cast - Buxton has some up and coming young stars in The Young REC Drama School!

It was a short but worthwhile play- I can't praise it enough. It was an excellent piece of theatre presented by extremely talented young people.

Jenny Heyward

National Archaeology Week: Life in the Iron Age - Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

A delightful Family Friendly event that links National Archaeology Week - hundreds of events from the Channel Islands to Dumfries and Galloway - with the Lindow Man's return to Manchester, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and Stone and Water - a non-profit organisation that celebrates place in Buxton.

Gordon McLellan (www.creepingtoad) and Sarah Males of Stone and Water are environmental artists and were involved in development of the Lindow Man exhibition in Manchester ( They have brought a connection with it to Buxton. In drop in workshop sessions the children are given the opportunity to make part of a model Iron Age village using templates or the option to design their own roundhouse and figures. The room is awash with glue, colouring and modelling materials and on a wet morning lots of happy engaged children and their carers. Every child I asked thoroughly enjoyed their time.

Being of an academic bent and many times too old for the target age range I was disappointed not to find the workshop embedded in an exhibition of Iron Age artefacts (which the museum must surely have!) and some exposition on the life of our ancestors. There are numerous Iron Age sites in the neighbourhood and this would have been a golden opportunity to introduce young people to them and encourage them to take their families to visit them and let their imagination roam.

Stone and Water have many other workshops in this series, both in the Museum and at Poole's Cavern. See the Museum or Creeping Toad websites for details.

John Wilson

Once Upon a Time High by Holly Friend - The Young REC Drama School

once upon a time

Fairy tales have long provided a fertile ground in which writers can plant new and entertaining ideas. Whether its Shrek, Sondheim's Into The Woods or the miniseries The Tenth Kingdom, the vivid plots and larger-than-life characters can be easily transplanted into slightly more subversive worlds.

In Holly Friend's Once Upon A Time High, the familiar characters from fairy tales (or more particularly their Disney counterparts) are transplanted to the world of the High School drama - now almost as recognisable as the fairy stories from 1980s John Hughes rom-coms, 1990s TV series such as My So Called Life and Dawson's Creek and, most particularly, the all-conquering High School Musical. So, Cinderella, Snow White and all the other fairy tale princesses become the 'popular' clique in an imaginary High School, Prince Charming a brainless jock and Pinocchio, the outsider who plots revenge on the night of the prom. As always in High School dramas, it's the outsider who is the most clearly drawn of the characters here with telling lines about his father's wanting him to be 'a real boy' and training him to get rid of his wooden mannerisms and his victory over his detractors (albeit at the expense of personal freedom for them all) is well thought through.

As always with the Young REC's shows, the cast perform with enthusiasm and commitment, perhaps more so than usual in that Once Upon A Time High was written by one of their number. Holly Friend is to be commended for her inventiveness and wit and I hope she writes more in the future.

Robbie Carnegie

The Haunted Storybook by Corinne Coward - The Young REC Drama School

drama school haunted storybook

In The Haunted Storybook, two groups of children discover a couple of magic books that transport some of their number into a scary and threatening new world, while their friends struggle to get them out. Corinne Coward's script provides ample opportunities for all the young cast members (aged 8 to 10) to shine, and the performances are all characterised by their commitment and concentration. By the effective means of back-projection and sound effects the scene moves easily between the real world and the magical one and the blocking of the actors is well done. One slight criticism, but one easily resolved - like all Fringe venues, Nice One can encounter a bit of background noise (particularly on Sunday, with carnival revelry in full swing outside), and the actors, in most cases, need to speak a little bit louder and clearer to be heard by everyone in the audience. The script is quite complicated and I for one lost a few of the twists of the plot at times, but this in no way spoiled the enjoyment of seeing the team spirit and hard work of these young performers.

Robbie Carnegie