Feel the Love
Reviewed – 2nd July 2019
“beautifully scripted words, sometimes modern, occasionally classic and often poetic”
In July 2016, the Chickenshed Youth Theatre company put on a show called ‘Feel The Love’. This proved to be so popular with audiences, that they have brought it back. With a fresh crop of students sharing new ideas and a world that has moved on, why not?
This current production started to take shape last July, when a steering group of thirty youngsters got together to structure ideas and concepts. The rest of the company gradually got involved and throughout the year, developed a wealth of material to a stage where they were able to direct, choreograph and create their visions.
Their huge theatre was used to great effect. The audience sat in four small clusters, a small centre stage was flanked by many outer stages outside the seated areas and a surrounding gallery was used with terrific impact, as words and dance materialised from every conceivable angle.
As the floor at the top of the show, was flooded by light from the simple opening of a door, I knew we were in for a treat. The actors tackled subjects such as dating, family, turf wars, LGBT and a particularly moving section on loneliness that drove the message home that what you see on the outside, is not necessarily what is going on in the inside.
The music was terrific, from a gentle underscore to full production numbers. The band members seemed to constantly be changing and the variety of soloists were all tremendous. Personal favourites of mine were a rendition of ‘Somebody To Love‘ that started off as a stripped back version and morphed into a full blown choral anthem and a rap song ‘I Love Myself‘ that was delivered with such belief and energy that it sent pulses of electricity sizzling through the room.
All the beautifully scripted words, sometimes modern, occasionally classic and often poetic, were accompanied by contemporary dance movements ranging from a leapfrog that Lebron James would have been proud of, to the tenderest of touches, all of which had a stunning visual impact. To look inside the mind of two hundred and fifty teenagers could be a terrifying thought and yet their wisdom, thoughtfulness and brutal honesty was inspiring. With all these bodies dancing at the same time, there could have been chaos and yet their spacial awareness and teamwork was a joy to behold.
Chickenshed invest in their students, champion diversity and inclusivety and this was beautifully evident throughout. Video clips of talking heads throughout the show asked ‘What is love’? The answer seemed to be that it’s different things to different people. I know that last night, I fell a little bit in love with Chickenshed and the tremendous work that they do. I hope that every teenager who has been involved in this show, leaves the theatre each night with their head held high and pride in their heart.
Bravo Chickenshed, you guys were awesome.
Reviewed by Chris White
Photography by Caz Dyer
Feel the Love
Chickenshed Theatre until 12th July
Previously reviewed at this venue: