Presented by InterACT Youth Theatre on tour to Neston Civic Hall,
Gladstone Theatre and Storyhouse, Chester
This production of SPARKLESHARK was full of spark and life. InterACT’s
cast of committed young actors relished the humour in the script and
delighted in the touchingly redemptive power of storytelling and the
imagination. It’s clear that the company enjoy playing characters of a
broadly similar age to themselves and this brings a truthfulness to the
performances that is hugely enjoyable to watch.

SPARKLESHARK is an ensemble piece with most of the characters on stage
most of the time. The company seemed to have a very sure idea of the
development of this fast moving story and were secure in their sharing
of it with the audience. SPARKLESHARK is a fast moving script and the
company delivered pacey performances to match. Every character was well
defined and fully rounded. The actors had clearly worked hard on back
stories and this level of detail paid off in performance. As a result
they won the Youth Endeavour trophy at the Leverhulme Drama Festival.

Oliver Cunliffe’s Jake was sensitive and thoughtful, an intelligent and
mature performance. Oliver won the Best Actor award at the Leverhulme
Drama Festival. I was impressed by Evie Lambert’s command of the very
wordy part of Polly. Flo Raven as Natasha has a feel for comedy and
revealed movingly the pathos beneath her brashness. Joshua Stevens gave
us a very funny Russell, full of self confidence and brio. Emily
Houghton’s Carol was touching and amusing in her ‘wannabe’ ness and
deserves special credit for keeping upright in those heels. The double
act of Annalise Hope and Zachary Gaballa as Buzz and Speed, they caught
the right level of goofiness and threat in the characters. It’s very
difficult when it’s mayhem around you to keep your own character’s
different energy going and Caiden Marley demonstrated beautifully that
‘still is strong’. Aaron Winstanley’s Finn was a treat, working his
muscled costume to good comic effect.

The setting of the tower block roof was designed with found objects,
cleverly placed to provide lots of different levels for the action. In
some shows this can look bitty but here each object had a relevance in
the story telling. The cast navigated the stage well and used both props
and levels to good effect.
A simple and effective lighting plot from Janet A Cantrill added
atmosphere without intruding on the reality of the roof top setting. I
liked the addition of a sound score, sympathetically and smartly curated
by Jonathan Stevens.

Overall a tight focused, well directed production that elicited genuine
laughs from the audience and took us on a proper journey with the