The Jolly Lion may have just got back from his trip to Cardiff, but adjudicator Sandra Wynne had ventured from North Wales to brave the storms Teignmouth had to offer alongside the feast of theatricals.
On the Thursday night audiences were treated to a double bill from the TYKES of Teignmouth, who presented “Arbeit Macht Frei” directed by Oli Bates and “Mobile Phone” directed by Alice Donnellan, both plays were written by Paul King. Wynne was impressed by the TYKES, commenting that both plays are particularly challenging for just being lines, with no guides on how they should be staged. She recommended these plays, ordinarily performed in schools, as a good place for adults to look for one act material and a different way of working.
The same evening the Tadpoles Youth Theatre of Torquay made a welcome return with “Exit Right, Running” directed by Sheila Gilbert and Susie Powell. Wynne described this as an ambitious production as the script, by Tony Layton, is written in an older language, but that she saw some strong performances from the young ladies in the cast.
On Friday night there had been two further performances from the Tadpoles. “Winners” is from “Lovers” by Brian Friel and was directed by Maggie Campbell and “A Handbag” by Anthony Horowitz was directed by Di ffitch. Of “Winners” Wynne stressed the importance of the Irish context and praised the performances from the two central characters. Of “A Handbag” she was struck by the interesting play and the level of work that had gone into character.
There was also a performance of “Oh, Mother” from the Touchstone Drama Group. This was written by Andrew Perkins and directed by Jenny Brittan. It was described as an enjoyable comedy where the costume decisions enhanced the production.
The Saturday saw matinee performances, the first from the John Fuld Theatre Comedy with “Kate” by John Fuld and directed by Rosaline Smith. This production was said to show an interesting scenario popular in one act festivals. The second, from The Teignmouth Players, was “Ever Young” by Alice Gerstenberg and directed by Wendy Hayden-Sadler, was praised for its rich costumes, beautiful set, American accents and careful comedy of manners in a 1922 setting.
The third play of the afternoon was “A Life Sentence” written and directed by Mark Seaman for the South Brent Amateur Dramatic Society. Wynne noted that these plays that highlight issues, in this case dementia, have become increasingly popular in the last twenty years, having replaced the political dramas of the preceding twenty years.
On the Saturday night came “Dress Down Friday” by Austin Hawkins and directed by Anna Reynolds on behalf of the TOADS Theatre Company. Wynne was impressed by the set, enjoyed the use of lighting and sound to set the scene and enjoyed the characterisation. This was followed by “The Witches of Prestwick”, a comedy from The Teignmouth Players. Written by Joe Graham and directed by John Branch, Wynne described this as a real laugh that looked fun to rehearse for a lovely ensemble cast.
The Festival Awards
The Bowen Cup (The Audience Appreciation Award) – Voted for by the season tickets holders across the festival, was this year shared between the two Teignmouth Players entries, Ever Young and The Witches of Prestwick.
The Brian Fossey Memorial Shield for Best Technical Presentation was won by Ever Young, The Teignmouth Players. Oh, Mother, Dress Down Friday and The Witches of Prestwick were each in the running for this award.
The Adjudicator’s Award went to The Witches of Prestwick.
The award for the Best Youth Team went to the TYKES performance of Mobile Phone.
The award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role came down to three actors. It was between Robin Willoughby as Dave Bailey in A Life Sentence, Iain Ferguson as the Man in The Witches of Prestwick and Hilary Nicholls, who won for her performance as Aunt Mildred in Oh, Mother.
The Stage Electrics Cup for Best Actor was between James Bellingham as Joe in Winners and Stuart Sutherland as Alan in Dress Down Friday. The award went to James Bellingham of the Tadpoles Youth Theatre.
The Stage Electrics Cup for Best Actress saw a shortlist of five ladies, including Danielle Jordan as Maggie in Winners, Sally Falcao as Mrs Caroline Courtney-Page in Ever Young, Veronica Brown as Anne in A Life Sentence, Hannah Samuel as Sharon in Dress Down Friday and Dawn Crawford as Bev in The Witches of Prestwick. The award went to Hannah Samuel of the TOADS Theatre Company.
Dress Down Friday was the runner up production of the festival for the TOADS Theatre Company. Whilst the Winners of the Teignmouth Cup for best production went to The Teignmouth Players for Ever Young.
This may have been the seventeenth Teignmouth Drama Festival to be held at the Carlton Theatre but the enthusiasm of Rodney Bowen and the festival committee is clear for all to see. The All England Theatre Festival continues with the Quarter Finals at the Blackmore Theatre, Exmouth on Saturday 4 May 2013.
Beyond that, the Nation Drama Festivals Association will be coming to Carlton Theatre, Teignmouth for the fortieth British All Winners Festival between Sunday 7 July and Saturday 13 July 2013. For more information visit: www.ndfa-bawf-2013.org.uk
For more information visit: www.teignmouthdramafestival.org.uk