Sunday, 25 August 2013

Thanks So Much Faye & Get Well Soon

Yesterday my heart sank when I learned that Faye is not currently performing in 'The Sound of Music' due to an injury.

She's receiving regular physio and is anxious to be back on stage but unfortunately she's unlikely to be fully fit when I visit the Open Air Theatre tomorrow.

On the plus side the weather is supposed to be fine and I'm sure I'll still enjoy the show but I also know it would be a million times better with Faye in it.

As I have a small birthday gift I was going to give Faye after the show I contacted her to wish her a speedy recovery and ask whether I should leave her present with another member of 'The Sound of Music' cast.

However Faye is such a lovely person and understanding my disappointment kindly offered to meet me after her morning physio sesssion.

That's such a thoughtful gesture and more proof that Faye is a special person both on and off stage.



Here is another nice article about 'The Sound of Music' written by Susan Elkin.


Earlier this month I saw the hugely enjoyable The Sound of Music, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh for Open Air Theatre, Regents Park.

It’s beautifully done with imaginative flair but without silly gimmicks and Charlotte Wakefield, as Maria, is a real joy. My colleague Mark Shenton reviewed it very favourably for The Stage although I don’t agree with him about The Lonely Goatherd number which is fun simply because it’s as silly as it’s intended to be. Several newspapers have run five star reviews.

As always, my education hat never far away, it was the achievements of the children – six of them in each performance which interested me particularly. The eldest, Liesl, is played by the adult and excellent, Faye Brookes. Cast by children’s casting director Jessica Ronane, three teams of children rotate in the six roles so a total of eighteen boys and girls are involved.

So where have they trained so far and what if, any, is their experience? Well Sylvia Young Theatre School continues to do a self evidently good job. No fewer than eight of these 18 children have attended SYTS either in the full time school or in one of the part-time options.

Also, never let it be forgotten that as well as developing fine performance potential in children, SYTS routinely achieves some of the best GCSE results in the borough of Westminster and when this year’s results are announced on Thursday I have no doubt that most SYTS students will have excelled as usual.

Two of the eighteen – more than 10% – are pupils at Redroofs Theatre School  in Maidenhead, another stage school which has a good track record. Of the remaining eight some have attended part-time schools and most have experience in other shows of various sorts with the exception of the naturally talented Alistair Blair as Kurt, for whom The Sound of Music is his professional theatre debut.

It goes to show, I think, that children with natural talent and a passion for performing often do very well in specialist schools where they can develop specific performance skills to a high level alongside routine academic work which must not of course be neglected. It was pointed out to me by Oliver ‘Buster’ Price, former academic head of Arts Educational Schools London, that pupils in stage schools tend to do well all round because they are exceptionally highly motivated and very hard working. Moreover, in some cases they had to persuade dubious parents that this really is the right school to allow them to attend – so they can’t afford to fail.

Well the ones in Regent’s Park certainly don’t seem to be failing. Six lovely performances, the night I was there. So successful has The Sound of Music been so far that its run has been extended for a week to September 14.

No comments:

Post a Comment