first night

Durham Drama Festival 2014 - Enter CIC

Cordelia Yeung reviews the final part of this year's Durham Drama Festival: Enter CIC

           Rounding off this year’s Durham Drama Festival with a bang was an excellent performance by Enter CIC, an organization that uses the performing arts to improve the lives of young children and teenagers. They performed excerpts from The Wind Road Boys, a musical that was written by one of Enter's co-founders, Paul Flynn, which they will be taking to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer. The story details a man's journey as he inherits a special gift that 'shapes his future and of generations to come.' 

 

Arriving at 10 o'clock that morning, they did not have much time to put everything together. Though they had merely hours to prepare themselves before stepping onto the stage at 2:30 pm, the actors were confident, poised and comfortable in the environment. If I did not know otherwise, I would have presumed that they had been rehearsing in The Assembly Rooms all week. Directed and choreographed by Andrea Mallen, Enter's other co-founder, the blocking and dance were polished and meticulously put together. Scenes were well-paced and engaging, whether they featured the ensemble or just two actors on stage. Considering that the actors ranged from 11 to 18, directing must have been by no means easy. Equally astounding were the vocals showcased by the cast all around. In particular, the two boys who played the lawyers had two of the clearest, strongest singing voices I've heard in a very long time.

 

 

At the start, Flynn had introduced the show to the audience, adding that the story was about local history and heritage, and the bond that holds a community together. The musical manages to showcase all of those things, but what surprised me more was that the story was accessible and suitable for all ages. The props that were larger-than-life were typical of a play geared towards children. However, the softer and tenderer moments felt pertinent to all those who sat on our red velvet seats, many of who were adults. Then again, perhaps it is the local history that parents and grandparents could relate to...

 

 

For a show that had their get-in at 10 o'clock in the morning on the same day, the technical aspects did not disappoint either. Their volunteers had collaborated with some of our DST technicians, a team led by Andy Mathieson and Tom Murton. Simply because of the nature of Saturday's performance and the little time they were given, there were neither backdrops nor sets, but the use of simple floods effectively complimented and enhanced the action on stage. They had previously performed at the Sunderland Empire Theatre as well as the Gala in Durham. I can only imagine how incredible their performances must have been when extravagant sets were utilized.

 

Beyond the precision and near faultlessness of the performances, what was the most humbling was dedication on the actors' parts. They had a magnificent time, and it showed. Ultimately, the disappointing thing was the University students in attendance. That being said, given the amount of heart and hard work from both the production team and actors, and the strong link between the DST and Enter CIC, I am certain that there will be more collaboration in the future. As an audience member, it is not too late to catch up.

 

17 February 2014

The views expressed in the reviews and comments on this page are those of the reviewer, and are not representative of the views of DST or Durham University.
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