Birmingham Stage Company

A reveiw and a half!

12 November 2009

Georgia Brown is 8 years old. Here is her review of SKELLIG. She is clearly a talent to look out for in her own right!

"Tuesday, 10th November was a very boring, dull day. School wasn’t brilliant, the sky was grey, even my appetite seemed to disappear as I watched the dreary rain pattering against the windows. All I was looking forward to was going to The Connaught Theatre to see Skellig in the evening. When I entered the theatre, not really knowing what to expect, the stage set was also dark and gloomy – like the inside of my Dad’s shed! There were no pretty lights or magical castles… but I sat back in my seat ready to enjoy it, even if the scenery didn’t help lift my current mood. Strangely, the noise of the waiting audience, made up mostly of young teens, was indescribably different and somehow told be Skellig was going to be good… very good.





The lights dimmed and a faint rustle of sweet packets, the slurp of people finishing the last of their drinks and the occasional whisper eventually died down, and the ‘ugly’ scenery turned out to not be so ugly at all, but almost too creative for words. I noticed that as the cast cleverly blended themselves into the scenery, the play unfolded with twists and turns. As we followed the life of Michael (Dean Logan) and his epic adventure through love, magic, belief and hope, he and his family began the struggle to stay strong when Michael’s baby sister became seriously ill.

What I loved most about Skellig was that nobody really had ‘the’ main part. Everybody seemed to be actively involved throughout. I loved how the cast told the story like a choral speaking group – with voices coming from every corner of the stage, creating a creepy yet extremely realistic and clever way to bring the narrative to life. Not only did the ensemble use their voices to speak, but to make animal noises that sounded so real – at one point it was almost as if a live animal was on stage, yet invisible and hidden.. I know Ellen Calender, who played several roles, made the sound of a baby crying – It sounded so real, yet there was definitely no baby to be seen! What could have been a story of sadness and tragedy, turned out to be a story of strength and hope, and magic, but not just magical magic, the sort of magic that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up and gives you the shivers because you know somewhere deep inside, that it could actually be real.

The actor who played the part of Skellig, (Neal Foster) had an amazing effect on the audience. His appearance was both shocking and terrifying, his loud voice boomed and made you jump, yet you felt sorry for the character, because it was so obvious that he had become vulnerable and was in deep pain because of his “Arthur… itis!”

It was a shame that when the ONLY smoke effect filled the stage and drifted into the audience, that it only took one person to cough, before the whole audience decided to join in with the choking and spluttering… Also mum was a bit disappointed that the Connaught Theatre have not yet WD40’d their seats so it only took one person to squeak their chair, and yes you’ve got it, the rest of the audience enthusiastically joined in! Luckily, this did not go on for too long and did not detract from the wonderfully spectacular performance that was evolving on the stage.

Skellig is a perfect way to introduce and encourage young people to read books. Seeing Skellig makes you want to buy the rest of David Almond’s books and get stuck in immediately. So, if you haven’t seen it… see it and if you have, see it again! Good luck to Skellig in the West End !!

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