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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Watermill - The Shed

13th to 16th July 2005.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Shed-loads of talent

The Shed, at The Watermill, from Wednesday, July 13 to Saturday, July 16

Put 125 children into a shed and see what happens! The Watermill's recent project involving six local primary schools was a smasheroo of a production, full of life, movement and laughs.

Central to the action was the shed, a cross between that place we all have full of brilliant 'one-day' projects and several spiders, and Dr Who's Tardis.

The play was in six parts, each with its own trio of Grandad Smith, and a young Freddie and Francesca.

Enborne Primary School began with Grandad deciding, aided by a special cycling machine in the shed, to go back through the centuries to find inventions to make a better world.

This first journey found that actually the good old days were rubbish, but there was a jolly rumbustiously peasanty dance anyway.

With Inkpen Primary School we met the Victorian Snobs, regarding the time-travelling trio as "so amusing, the working people", and gardener Jessica Smith; what she had been doing in the shed led to a great increase in the Smith dynasty.

And so, on through the decades with Welford & Wickham Primary School introducing us to the 20s in a glitter of excellent flappers with a persistent Emily Pankhurst.

Hettie Smith's flowered dress and hat in Shaw-cum-Donnington's section was just one example of the good work which had gone into costumes throughout. A jolly jitterbugging lot, they captured the '40s atmosphere exactly.

Shefford Primary School reminded us of the '60s opposing gangs involving, of course, the Smiths of the day in an exciting 'rumble' with Duke Smith in his element.

A gentler final episode came from Stockcross with Sally Smith insisting that individualism in dance is good, but both her solo and the excellent How High the Moon dance were great fun.

Then the end, with Michael Smith from Enborne taking charge as we came back to the present day.

I have mentioned no names for every actor was a star, the faces were full of joy and the result was extraordinarily entertaining. The discipline the children showed in entrances and exits was most professional.

Well done actors, teachers, parents, writer Ade Morris and especially to director Will Wollen (who also stepped in to play a part when someone dropped out). Well done Watermill!