Theatre By The Lake once again hosted the Cumbria YFC Entertainments County Final. With an auditorium filled to capacity on both nights. Friends and family of the performers were treated to five amazing performances with young farmers showcasing the very best of their talents.
Saturday 11th January saw Grayrigg YFC’s performance of “A Seagull’s Seaside Review”. Seagulls Steve and Alan (aka Thomas Ridding and Peter Thompson respectively) had the audience in stitches with their antics and kept in character throughout the production. The dialogue between pensioners Ange (Caroline Todd) and Maxine (Alice Dixon) was both funny and endearing and all these little vignettes were intermingled with some superb and accomplished dancing from the beach girls and the Beach Ball Ballet Boys.
Raughton Head YFC were next to take to the stage with a highly polished and original production entitled “Medical Mayhem”. The opening dance sequence, featuring smiling nurses was lively and confident and set the tone for the next 30 minutes. The waiting room scene, featuring Dr Emilia Burbury as a less than compassionate doctor with some very groan worthy “dr dr” jokes kept the audience in stitches (excuse the pun!) and provided a delightful foil for Megan Gibson’s portrayal of the hyperchondriac receptionist in love with Tom Mitchinson’s handsome doctor.
The next scene, set in an Occupational Therapy ward, saw the slow, shuffling arrival on stage of a group of patients using wheel chairs, zimmer frames and crutches. Under the watchful eye of the doctor, all was as it should be, however, once the doctor left the stage, the patients took on a new zest for life performing an incredible dance routine involving the aforementioned medical equipment.
George Mitchinson’s hospital DJ, Vinyl Ritchie stole the show with his larger than life performance and tag line of “broadcasting from Maternity to the Morgue”. Dedications such as “Footloose” for a patient with a broken foot left the audience crying with laughter and hoping that he’d get a regular slot on Radio Cumbria.
Raughton Head continued to raise the bar with a cleverly crafted solo performance from Robbie Tuer singing about a variety of complaints from halitosis through to novo virus to the tune of “Hallelujah”. Mr Tuer’s singing and acting were superb and left the audience wanting more.
The final scene slowed the pace and focused the audience’s attention on an emotive silent scene called “The Circle of Life”. Played out to the soundtrack of “ Annie’s Song” by John Denver, Phil Potts portrayal of Dad was especially poignant.
A show stopping finale, involving all the cast members brought Raughton Head’s high octane entertainment to a close and left the audience smiling and singing along.
Crook YFC took to the stage next, with an all singing and dancing production called “Show Business”. James Park as Ronnie Barker and Chris Calder as Ronnie Corbett re-enacted the iconic “Fork Handles” sketch to much laughter from the audience. Emily Abbott and Leanne Wallace as Elsa and Anna received applause for their “Frozen” rap, and would have given Honey G a run for her money! Amy Hardy not only acted as the compere of the production, but also gave a spellbinding solo performance of “Dancing on My Own”.
The second night saw Drigg YFC showcase their talents with their performance “The most Wonderful Time of the Year”, Emily Jenkinson and Abby Stamper as Buddy and Tinsel the elves provided narrative and continuity throughout the performance and set the scene for a Christmas inspired extravaganza of singing and dancing. Maisie Naylor’s ballet performance was delightful and added extra sparkle to the production. Anna Tilsley played not only the teacher in the children’s nativity scene, but also sang a wonderful solo in the choir scene.
The final performance of the competition was from Sedbergh YFC, with their production of “Noel’s Ark”, a rip roaring romp through light entertainment involving Noel Edmonds, The Chuckle Brothers, Morecambe and Wise and Mr Blobby. Tasked with building an ark, the performance included an x factor segment. Acts included the hapless Magic Mike (Connie Hodgson), whose disasterous magic tricks left the magician red faced. Comedians Mike Stainton and Zak Baines cleverly portrayed two very unfunny comics, with some exceptionally bad jokes. However, despite setbacks, help from a group of Minions and general chaos, the ark was built and all were safely on board for the grand finale.
The judges, Mrs Vicky Robinson , Co Chair of Theatre By The Lake and Mr Richard Hodgson, a former member of Carlisle YFC had their work cut out judging the performances, but after much deliberation, first place was awarded to Raughton Head YFC. Drigg YFC took second place and Grayrigg YFC came third. George Mitchinson and Megan Gibson both from Raughton Head YFC won best actor and actress respectively.
All 3 clubs now go forward to the Northern Area Weekend, hosted by Yorkshire YFC on the 25th February.