Printable CopyPOLLYANNA
Hills Youth Theatre
Stirling Community Theatre
Until 01 Jul 2018

Review by Talia Gaertner-Jones

Director Di Mason, along with Assistant Director Jessica Corrie and Hills Youth tutors bring together a talented group of young performers for Hills Youth Theatre’s “Pollyanna”. This show takes on special meaning for the company as it is dedicated to the first HYT tutor, Joan Leslie who passed away earlier this year. Leslie wrote the original script which has been adapted for HYT by Director Di Mason.

The show began with a few opening night nerves, but they were quickly moved along once the story gained momentum. Lottie Mumford leads the show as Pollyanna Whittier, the girl who is always able to find the silver lining and who plants the seed of positivity in a glum town. Mumford’s role is a large one and she develops her character well. Her Aunty Polly Harrington, played by Aislin Mowbray, shows experience on stage as she transitions from being prim and proper to warm and caring by the final scenes. Lazuli Chittleborough as Mrs Wilson and Harriett Wolff as Mrs Tarbel are perfectly cast at the town gossips. They deliver their lines and movements with comic timing beyond their years.

Lewis Redwood as Reverend Ford portrays a stereotypical Reverend, delivering the gospel with passion. Maddy Nyp as Mrs Snow is a delightfully grumpy character whose experience shows. Lead by Jack Grosser as orphan Jimmy Bean, the ensemble of orphans is an audience favourite. Grosser, however, steals the show every time he steps on stage. His character’s quick wit and charm has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.

Pollyanna’s set works well for the quick location changes and lighting plots mean that audiences are drawn into each area and not distracted by an empty stage. Particular mention needs to go to Costume Coordinators Paola da Pozzo and Di Mason, along with the many costume seamstresses. In the scenes where the ensemble fills the stage, the costumes are a highlight. It is difficult enough trying to get and make costumes for large casts of adults, but to replicate period costumes for youths comes with challenges of its own and da Pozzo, Mason and their sewing team pull it off well!

“Pollyanna” is a show with the important message of being glad for what you have and one for young and old to enjoy.