Party for peace:Theatre

Timothy Ramsden

Hair still seems to grow on modern youth, given the infectious sense of fun Bedfordshire Youth Theatre brings to its interpretation. They clearly revel in the bright patterned costumes, but the so easily parodied peace and love tribe is presented with cool precision as well as hot enthusiasm, all joyously fused in the whirl of a three hour party.

Parties take a lot of organising if they're to run smoothly and the production's success is clear both in the refusal to patronise the material and in the respect given to the more sombre sections dissecting Uncle Sam.

Directors Nigel Williams and Gerald Maielle have created a true ensemble, which supports every individual, enabling everyone to perform at their best, without stifling the individual skills of the strongest cast members. Among these are John Oliver's Jay and Andrew Stevenson's Claude, with the fine rock singing of Jo Jeffries' Sheila and dancers such as Aretha Adams, whose technical skill was matched by energy.

These are the kind of performances you have to watch. No wonder this company is one of only 12 non-professional groups worldwide invited to the International Theatre Exchange's 1996 Festival in Japan where they will offer Romeo and Juliet.

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