REVIEW: Go Dark, The Customs House Youth Theatre, The Customs House, South Shields

The Customs House Youth Theatre.

The Customs House Youth Theatre.

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A bespoke piece, written specifically for the Customs House Youth Theatre, provided an encouraging glimpse of the next generation of South Tyneside’s acting talent.

Go Dark was a perfect piece for the youngsters to show what they could do, and they didn’t pass up the golden opportunity.

Writer John Hickman created well written parts for the teenagers, who were clearly comfortable with the script and staging. The Juniors were well rehearsed and confident in movement and speech. Staging for the piece, which lasted 35 minutes, was simple, but effective.

The play is about a group of schoolfriends who decide to take action against the all-encompassing corporation OmniCorps. Led by edgy, determined Alpha (the excellent Erin Atack), the girls post a video on YouTube, attacking evil OmniCorps.

Unfortunately, they haven’t quite got their facts right, and the address they give for one of the OmniCorps directors is wrong. An innocent man is attacked as the video and wrong information goes viral.

It’s a play for the age of digital natives, where some of the friends have never met in person, only online. It’s a very modern piece, using the language of teenagers and examining issues that concern them.

The nature of friendship is explored as pressure grows on the young rebels.Erin is well supported by Georgina Whale-Spencer (a confident, natural actress), Katie Rutherford as Tech and Molly Wear as GamerGal. A special mention for Molly Stobbs whose great singing voice was perfect for the role of Eilish.

But there isn’t a weak link among the dozen players, and director Toni McElhatton should be proud of her charges.

The Juniors will perform Go Dark again on Friday, June 3, as part of the Custom House’s Takeover Festival.

The Customs House Youth Theatre is open to young people aged between 10 and 21 who have an interest in theatre. It meets every Friday in term time (4.30-7.30pm) and produces two original performances a year. The junior section (10-15 years) is led by Toni McElhatton and the seniors by Fiona Martin.