Watermill Young Company - The Sirens' Call
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Watermill Young Company - The Sirens' Call

18th to 22nd November 2008.

Our friends from the past

The Watermill Young Company: The Sirens' Call, at The Watermill, Bagnor, from Wednesday, November 18 to Saturday, November 22

The Watermill Young Company is celebrating its 10th year, currently under the inventive and creative directorship of Ade Morris, who has given many young people the unique opportunity to tread the boards at The Watermill and gain a real insight into the world of professional theatre as well as learning much about themselves.

Morris' latest excellent play, The Sirens' Call is very much informed by recent events and our modern world. Set in a vault of the British Museum, with a truly atmospheric set design by Helen Goddard, is café worker Jane Parr - a strong performance by Kirsty Allnut. She has locked herself in the vault to mourn the death of her boyfriend Pete (Oliver Hawes) who was an aid worker in Afghanistan. Jane has no intention of coming out again and begins to make a last video diary.

Her mind is confused, and to try and come to terms with her angst she begins to read the diary of Emma Bennett (Ailsa MacCaughrean), a 19th-century adventurer, who turned her back on one life to set out on another. She is drawn into the writing and Jane begins to imagine Emma's sea voyage on board the Nightingale as the stage bursts into life with the characters from the ship. Particular mention to Charlotte Metcalfe who gave a beguiling performance as Annie Smith.

Back in the museum, Jane is joined by the archetypical curator (Ollie Bridges) and some of his extraordinary friends who emerge from the bookcases. We meet Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, Wilfred Owen, Emily Bronte and Percy Shelly, not forgetting the redoubtable Maud, the wartime cleaner and voice of common sense.

These characters were totally convincing and performed by a hugely able and talented cast, who gave well-crafted and powerful performances throughout.

Jane begins to learn from these voices from the past and tries to discover the braver part of herself. She is eventually reunited with Pete, "a human life is worth the same as it ever was, the same as freedom, a priceless sum".

Beautifully-lit by Lawrence T Doyle, and equally well costumed, this was a touching and moving production. Happy Birthday!

ROBIN STRAPP