Whistle Down the Wind proves a hit

March 26 2018
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Local drama group Ivy Arts Youth Theatre presented a week of rousing performances of Whistle down the Wind at The Olympus Theatre.

Local drama group Ivy Arts Youth Theatre presented a week of rousing performances of Whistle down the Wind at The Olympus Theatre.

The Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman rock epic, set in rural 1950s Louisiana, is a whimsical tale about children who discover a fugitive hiding in their barn and mistakenly believe he is Jesus. The original story, written by Mary Hayley Bell, was adapted into a film in 1959, starring Hayley Mills and Alan Bates.

Director and producer Kelly Packer has been attracting young people from Redland, Bishopston, Westbury Park and Henleaze to her drama and dance classes for more than ten years. Kelly said: “It’s quite a technically demanding show but as per usual the children were utterly fantastic and totally pulled it out of the bag. 

“I would put Whistle Down the Wind somewhere on a par with Les Miserables, the difference being that it’s not such a well known show. 

“Vocally it is very demanding as there are six-part harmonies almost throughout the entire production. We haven’t cut a single piece of harmony and they’ve all coped with it brilliantly.” 

The lead parts in the production were played by talented musical theatre actors, Ellen Corbett, Harry Saunders, Luke Garner-Greene and Zelda Coleborn supported by professional actor Brendan Casey, who played ‘The Man’.  

As well as the young people from Ivy Youth, 22 young children from Ivy Arts Theatre School joined the cast for the production, all supported by a live 15-piece rock orchestra.

The theatre school recently moved to a new, permanent home at West Park in Clifton which has brought a real sense of belonging:

“All of sudden we’ve got our own home,” said Kelly. “I’d like to think that the cast and the children enjoy being there just as much as we do. It’s a  great stress reliever because we don’t have to pack everything up at the end of a rehearsal, all scenery and props can be stored.”

The newest recruits to join Ivy Youth this year have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of taking part a big, professional-standard production.

Bea Talfan-Davies, aged 13, said: “When we were in the younger group it was just for fun but now everyone’s a lot older they take it much more seriously. It’s interesting to see it all coming together.”

Joe Webber added: “Everyone has a close friendship. It’s professional as well as being a club where you can hang out with your friends.”

“It’s my first production,” explained Charlotte Cooper. 

“I joined the younger Ivy group with my sister and when she moved up into youth group I thought their productions were amazing. 

"Show week is definitely tiring but it’s so worth it.”