Friday, April 08, 2011

"Project Branded" - April 2011

Tron Skillshops, the Tron's drama group for 13 to 17 year olds, brings us a look at where society may be headed with "Project Branded". With its group of close friends refusing to conform to the state's new programme designed to restrain teenage impulses it's like a mash up of "Skins", "A Clockwork Orange" and "We Will Rock You" - which isn't a bad place to start.

This is the first time we've been along to a Tron Skillshops production so it's worth outlining our approach to youth drama. Along with amateur and community theatre, we don't make any allowances and treat all performances exactly as we do fully professional shows. We believe that to do otherwise would be patronising to all those involved.

So, with that in mind, let's get the negatives out of the way right at the start. Most likely due to first night nerves, there were some quiet voices, a fair number of stumbled lines and a couple of horribly hesitant moments. And similarly, during the chorus/dance/movement segments there wasn't always the polished execution there might have been.

Fortunately, there was a lot of good stuff on display here too. The band of 'Outlaws' fighting the system make for a believable group of friends with Grant McDonald's "Ryan" and Ebony Blair's "Jess" making particularly strong impressions. Jack Kennedy gives an assured performance as Project Branded's "Head Advisor", clearly enjoying the character's almost GLaDOS-like personality. Directors Lisa Keenan & Gillian Crawford have given the show a well thought out structure that keeps things interesting - and all involved deserve credit for giving the show quite a ballsy finish. Hopefully as the run progresses the cast will gain in confidence and experience and be able to showcase the full extent of their talents.

We received our ticket for Project Branded through our membership of the Tron's Patrons Scheme - which we thoroughly recommend to all regular attendees at the Tron.

Project Branded runs at the Tron until Saturday 9th April
Image by John Johnston used with permission