Ring of Roses

Dec 2006 at Leighton Buzzard Theatre

Emotive musical focusing on the children of Eyam at the time of the plague.

Review by Jenny Rose:

Ring of Roses at the LB Theatre in early December was an excellent production directed by Sally Allsopp featuring a cast of high quality, creative and talented young people. Ring of Roses is a story of hope, love and truth. Set at the time of the plague in 1665 it follows the story of the children and adults of the plague village Eyam in Derbyshire. Mixing pathos with fun, song with theatrical simplicity the Leighton Buzzard Children's Theatre Youth Section members aged 13-18 performed this family musical at The Leighton Buzzard Theatre.

The piece expressed the hope of humanity in impossible situations, it told of a time for adventure a time for letting go. Written by Darren Vallier the piece followed the fortunes of the children who are sent up onto the hill alone for safe keeping whilst the adults are left in the danger zone away from their children.

Catherine played beautifully by 18 year old Kassey Rutland and Alice played by Jo Ellam and Scarlet Forrest headed the cast which included over 50 local youngsters. There were so many stars in the performance and many superb voices. Comedy was added with real style by the herbal hags, Wendi O'Neill, Sophie Chenery, Hayley Green and Emily Beckwith and the gravediggers Angus Drummond, Edward Percival and Jason Dass who kept the audience guessing with their strange songs and comedic timing.James Leaver played the character Roland who was forever hungry.

The strong cast also included Eleanor Cloake, Dawn Mayne, Vanessa Lee, Joe Childs, Matthew Lee and Lydia Watkins, Tammy Oxley, Amber Nightingale who played their role with commitment and beautiful vocals. Fine drama was added by Sam Lowther,Kraig Rutland, Jenny Bernarde, Laura Foy, Jay Lawrence and Adam Smart. Bethan Edwards and Joe Parslow had the audience in tears as they realised they had helped to spread the plague, Bethan cried real tears.

A chorus of over 20 youngsters each performance showed strong vocal versatility and great natuaralistic drama and movement skills. Musical direction by David Allsopp was superb with fine orchestral arrangements. An excellent evening of fine performances- well done