This week is the return of Sheffield People’s Theatre to the Crucible Theatre and this year they performed What We Wished For. What We Wished For put a selection of well known retired fairytale characters in an old people’s home in Sheffield in the present day. With a cast of around 70 local people, this show was thoroughly enjoyable yet thought provoking.
Emily Hutchinson directed again and her staging was great and she really did manage to put these well known, larger than life characters in a modern day setting seamlessly. Chris Bush wrote for the fourth time for SPT and this musical really did have some very clever dialogue and extremely good song lyrics.
Inigo Chrisp and Sarah Moat worked brilliantly together as Punch and Judy, getting a laugh simply when we learnt their names. Their performances were brilliantly intense and intimidating. Jennifer Derbyshire as May gave a heartwarming performance, as did Ian France and Elizabeth Stanforth-Sharpe as Hansel and Gretel. Jonathan Syer as Joseph and Mckenzie Kelly as Woody were very funny together, as were Michele Gardner and Rav Sanghera as Marion and Robin, who made a very convincing romantic couple. Nigel Hughes gave a very strong performance as George alongside Andrew Raferty as Arthur who was equally as strong. Janice Sampson was brilliant as Goldie, with Declan Bryson, Jake Andrews and Ryan Morris making a very funny three stooges of bears. Helen Oxley gave a brilliant performance as Cindy, Guy Perkins was great as Peter, a character that was slightly underused given the plot, and Shirley Simpson made for a wonderful Belle with Jenni Lydiat doing a very good job as Rose.
There were a brilliant cast of younger people in the show too with many getting their chances to shine. Particular standouts were Beth Atkin in her multitude of roles including van driver Terri, Emily Davidson as student Kim and George Morrell as Teddy. Callum Norrie as Josh delived some one-liners to perfection getting plenty laughs and Tommi Bryson was very strong as student Jo, with some very strong singing vocals demonstrated throughout.
The two stars of the show however were Bronwen Ebdon as Roma and Isa Wood as Red. Bronwen’s performance had such great intensity and strength and her presence was incredibly strong. She delivered some stunning vocals in certain songs and really got the essence of this strong, powerful character. Isa Wood was equally as strong as Red. She too delivered some lovely vocals and she captured the heart of this inspirational and determined teenager. Her acting was phenomenal, creating lots of tension in her final scene. She could easily walk straight into a West End show and you wouldn’t know she wasn’t a professional actress.
The show had an awesome set designed by Kevin Jenkins with various pop-up features and had many brilliant songs composed by Claire McKenzie. Credit also goes to Darragh O’Leary for creating some brilliant movement, particularly for the wolves (who all gave very intense and intimidating performances) and to Matthew Malone for making all the music sound great from a singing point of view (I’ve rarely heard such volume and power from a cast) and from a musical point of view, heading up a brilliant band.
A huge congratulations to all involved in What We Wished For. It really was a tremendous production and you rarely see a musical that really makes you think and gives you something to take away from it.
What We Wished For runs at Sheffield Crucible until Saturday 22nd July.