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

Watermill Young Company - The Gilded Lilies

26th to 29th October 2005.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Dead funny...

Watermill Young Company: The Gilded Lilies, at the Watermill, Bagnor, from Wednesday, October 26 to Saturday, October 29

Ade Morris has a sure way of coaching the best from a group of young actors, penning the right stuff, and then moulding an ensemble worthy of the Watermill name.

The Gilded Lilies is the latest of a series of plays devised with the wonderfully talented members of the Watermill Young Company, set against the gothic backdrop of a funeral parlour, the focus for a rag tag of characters in search of a band, each coming to the stage with their personal 'baggage'.

Their unique selling point - once The Gilded Lilies finally hit the road in their transit - was dressing as 'old dears'.

This musical piece is peppered with surreal humour derived from teenage angst. It's also a vehicle for exploring issues of relationships, peer pressure, absent parents, death and unrequited love - all rolled up into a very funny evening indeed, pulling few punches with language and even embracing some lively cross-dressing - great legs by the way, Gene/Jean.

Some of the actors in this company are taking their first steps towards professional theatre - others will use their skills in other walks of life. The production succeeds because it was built on their own experience - they knew what they were talking about. I won't pull out any individuals for praise, as the strength of the performance was team work.

Their initial improvisation of characters and storyline was licked into shape by writer/director Ade Morris and then reclaimed at rehearsal by the 13-strong cast (plus honorary oldie errant rock star father-made-good in a cameo appearance).

I did, however, feel that while a wannabe band might well come up with the name The Gilded Lilies, the words in the title song "...we're gilding the lily, my friends" lent themselves uncomfortably to young voices and was more Watermill than Watermill Young Company

But that was a small gripe in the scheme of things.

The Gilded Lilies must truly become a legend in their own transit.