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Mayhem's production for October 2019 was another outstanding success, and resulted in more recognition from NODA, namely:

  • WINNER! Best Youth Production - Mayhem Youth Theatre Group for Whistle Down the Wind

  • WINNER! Best Youth Performance (For a performer under 21) - Bethany Piper for Swallow

  • Best Youth Performance (For a performer under 21) - Liam Phelps for The Man

Some highlights from the NODA review were:

This powerful musical presents many challenges to production team and cast. Mayhem Youth Theatre’s aim is to trust and encourage their member’s skills, this young team were given this iconic musical to direct and choreograph and they met this challenge with maturity, achieving an outstanding production. This musical shows the innocence and vulnerability of children woven in a dark story. The powerful lyrics written by the famous Jim Steinman with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber are certainly moving, with rock overtones the music was played with skilful sensitivity by the orchestra led by M.D. Ruth Friend. Scenes were built on in layers to create the tension of the advancing story. 

The family central to this musical play were Boon, a lovely performance by Zoe Greenway who leans on her Daughter Swallow, played by Bethany Piper with her crystal clear voice.  An outstanding characterisation of depth, ably supported by Brat (Freya Piper) and Poor Baby (Angus Keown-Boyd) both well played.

Liam Phelps as Jesus/The Man gave an emotional performance and his breaking voice only added to the poignancy and vulnerability of his performance, every second totally inside this character, that Liam will never forget playing all his life. The two characters Amos (Reuben Mayo) and Candy (India Harris) were cast perfectly. Reuben with a great voice, gave the role convincing sexuality and India responded so well to this challenging part giving it light and shade.

Harry Cummins as The Sheriff gave his strength of voice and acting to this character, one to watch! The Trio with The Man, Amos and Swallow was the special highlight of the show, their amazing vocal blend an inspiration!!

Technically very good, effects realistic, congratulations to Director Bethany Piper, Choreographer Alicia Mc Lachlan, M. D. Ruth Friend, Producer Andrew Griffiths, all the team, cast, and all involved.  I have great admiration for all you have achieved.

Whistle Down the Wind

A fugitive is caught between the prejudice of adults and the innocence of the young.

Whistle Down The Wind is based on the novel by Mary Hayley Bell and the film produced by Richard Attenborough and directed by Bryan Forbes. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman, together with Patricia Knop and Gale Edwards (co-book writers with Andrew Lloyd Webber) have taken the original story and reset it in Louisiana in 1959.

The musical revolves around the time and place where the word teenager was invented.  Swallow, struggling to come to terms with the death of her father, discovers a mysterious stranger whom she believes is Jesus.  In a town where a miracle is long overdue, the children fight to protect him from an adult world determined to find an escaped convict hiding in their midst.  As fantasy and reality collide, Swallow is torn between the two and begins to discover who she is and where she is going… Andrew Lloyd Webber’s emotive score combines hauntingly beautiful love songs and explosive rock music with lyrics by acclaimed rock’n‘roll songwriter Jim Steinman. The score contrasts the relentless influence of the modern world with the traditional values of the old days – something which the community at the heart of Whistle Down The Wind yearns to return to.

The musical premiered in 1996 at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., and was revived in the West End in 1998. The show toured the UK a number of times between 2001 and 2004 before moving to the Palace Theatre, London in March 2006. A US tour began in late 2007, and a second UK tour opened in 2010.

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