OSTRICH BOYS: Keith Gray, Adapted Carl Miller
Birmingham Youth Theatre At Birmingham Old Rep
0121 236 4455, www.birmingham-rep.co.uk
Runs: 1hr, no interval, to 16 July
Review: Rod Dungate, 13 07 2011
About young people, by young people, for young people
Keith Gray’s OSTRICH BOYS is a haunting novel for young people. Sensitively written about the death of a young man, it explores the nature of friendship (particularly friendship between young males) and the complexities of duty, responsibility and, yes, growing up.
It’s a bold choice for Birmingham Rep to choose for their Young People’s Theatre, but what better than a performance, by young people, about young people and for young people? Certainly, the young people in the audience last night took on board the deep explorations of human nature presented.
There’s a lot of weight on the shoulders of the three central young men – Blake, Kenny and Sim. The three young men who transport the ashes of their dead friend to Scotland to scatter them; instinctively they feel the funeral service for him was inappropriate and they want to right this wrong.
The three young actors, Kieran Holland, Daniel Ali and Dore Robinson are strong – dealing with the ups and downs of emotions well and bringing great honesty to what they are doing. Holland (Blake) is particularly good, bringing an ease to his portrayal.
Hannah Phillips (who directs) orchestrates the performance sensitively; greater fluidity in Carl Miller’s adaptation would have been welcome, offering most of the performers chance to play a greater emotional range.
Ross: Thomas Chiverton
Caroline: Anne Youle
Hugh: Joseph Turner
Penny: Ellen D’Andrade Brown
Antonia: Rebecca Fitcroft
Sean: Jack Woodbridge
Nine: Grace France
Hayley: Heather Fantham
Kayleigh: Holly Smith
Blake: Kieran Holland
Kenny: Daniel Ali
Sim: Dore Robinson
Sara / Julie: Daisy Field
Alisha / Tia: Letitia Wright
Yasmin / Jade: Shannon Morris
Tariq: Kyle Peterkin
Kevin: Pip Turner
Inspector: Daniel Woodall
Kat: Katherine Allen
Bacon: Ellie Jones
Calum: Ben Baulch-Jones
Dancers: Christie Phillips, Matthew Grieh, Michael Parsons, Catherine Meadows, Karis Richards
Director: Hannah Phillips
Designer: Rob Dicks
Lighting Designer: Adrian Littlejohns
Composer: Sayan Kent
Visual Artist: Adam Guy