Where Shadows Go At Night
York Theatre Royal
28-30 March 2013
Reviewed by Nicola Cook
On Thursday 28 March I went to see ‘Where Shadows Go At Night’ at York Theatre Royal. It is a play written by playwright Paul Birch and performed by York Theatre Royal Youth Theatre, with a different cast performing each night. The play was unique to any other I had previously seen as it is in fact two short plays, set in different locations, which are linked together through the story of one family.
The two plays are performed simultaneously and then repeated, allowing the audience to decide which of the plays to view first. The play is set during the Second World War, and uses the streets of York as the setting, focusing mainly on events at the Connell home and the Railway Station. Both plays are set on April 29 1942, as German bombers fly over York.
‘The Chocolate Girls’ is performed in the Studio and focuses mainly around three workers from the chocolate factory. During their evening out, an insight into their lives and the roles of people in York during the war are explored. When the bombers strike, the reality of the war suddenly hits the girls, and the people of York strive to help each other in the course of the chaos that occurs. Mrs Connell becomes worried when her family do not return home after the bombing, which links to the events in ‘Like a Thief’. The play also reveals the secrets of the chocolate factory…
‘Like a Thief’ was performed in the beautiful De Grey Rooms, a Victorian building next to the Theatre Royal. The long stage in this room was utilised well in order to make the audience feel as though they were inside the station, where the play was set. The play is narrated by Hazel, who is Mrs Connell’s twelve year old daughter. The audience views her memories of events from that night. This was used well to add humour and pace to the play. I felt that the actress’s performance (Esther Nixon) was very confident. Hazel is within the station with her father and younger brother when the bombers strike and then the three become separated. As Hazel strives to find her family, we meet both heroes and villains along her journey.
There was a large cast of 50 children in the two plays, and they performed well, drawing you into the stories. The acting of lead characters was particularly good, showing potential for their future. The play had an interesting storyline and both humour and serious issues were accomplished successfully. As young actors, I felt the cast worked well together to produce a good performance.
Tickets cost from £6-£8.
For more information or to book tickets click here.