Terry Pratchett's Going Postal

Mon 8th – Thu 18th July 2013

reviews

Anwen Jones

at 13:24 on 18th Jul 2013

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When I took my seat in the Bierkeller Theatre to watch ITV West's Television Workshop perform a stage adaptation of Terry Pratchett's novel 'Going Postal', I realised that this would be the first time in a while that I would be seeing a young company. This filled me with excitement; there is nothing better, in my opinion, then experiencing the growth and nurturing of new young talent in the theatre world. So, I was certainly looking forward to what these actors had in store for me.

Going Postal is an interesting story which is full of the weird and the wonderful, something that this youth theatre attacked with energy and vigour. There's something refreshing about the way they bristled with excitement on stage, a spark of enthusiasm which, although taking a little away from a sense of professionalism, reminds the audience that acting and performance is also enjoyable for those on stage, not just those who are watching.

The only issue with the story was that at times it became difficult to follow as the script whizzed through plots and characters in order to fit the narrative into the hour or so the actors had on stage. Originally a 480 page book, and more recently adapted into two hour-long tv shows, ITV West Television Workshop were definitely taking on a challenge when choosing to perform this particular story as a play. However, despite the slight confusion in plot and storyline, the company should be praised for doing the best they could in such a condensed time frame; even if at times I had to play catch-up with what was happening on stage, the determination and energy of the cast meant I just sat and back and enjoyed.

Indeed, there were certain members of the company that truly supported the performance throughout; Chris Hollier who plays the protagonist Moist von Lipwig was perfect for the role, bringing buckets of enthusiasm and momentum to the stage and revelling in the action taking place around him. In addition, Naomi Lume should be praised for her incredible ability to rumble through lines chock-a-block with difficult dialogue at perfect ease; I have no doubt that she is a little star in the making. However, for me the most stand-out performance of the night came from Taylor Ayling who played Groat, the hilarious junior post office attendant. His absolute commitment to the role, his incredible comic timing and his perfectly suited body language meant he stole the stage whenever he was on it - a truly promising actor.

This is not to say however, that the rest of the cast were not also essential to the production. As mentioned earlier, there was no denying the energy they brought to the performance. The only thing I would mention are some issues regarding projection. At times it was difficult to understand key parts of dialogue as characterisation sometimes took over clear pronunciation. However as a young company it is somewhat understandable, and, with a little practice and focus, I'm sure it is something that can be improved.

All in all, it was a joy to see some truly talented young actors on such a public stage and I must commend Lisa Hamilton-James for directing a 21 strong-group of teenagers and channelling their excitement and talent in such a way. With a different story which offers more depth and coherence I have no doubt that this company could create an all-effective production, it is just a shame that for this particular performance the narrative was not quite up to scratch.

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