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Cardiff's leading musical youth theatre /young people's theatre group

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James in Nell's BellesThe Unknown Theatre Company has received many excellent reviews.   
Here are some of our favourite excerpts:

Want to see more detailed reviews, or know more about any of these shows? 
Click on the show name to go to its own page...

 

Show

Review

Publication

the yoyo's show of Midsummer Night's little dream

 

 

 

 

 

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This property is condemned - part of Facing the Truth

 

 

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areesha shalton in Return to the Forbidden Planet

 

 

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who needs a napkin when you've got a shirt?  How to Eat Like a Child









 

 

 

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elisa in Seussical

 

 

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Kelly as the Zebra in Just So

 

 

 

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Amy Way in Can't Stand up for Falling Down

 

 

 

 

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Sarah Lark and Mark Johncock in Dracula Spectacula

 

 

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one of the YoYos in Rose and the WIcked Wolfee!

 

 

 

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Cult "Cult is an interesting new piece of musical theatre, a collection of monologues and songs relating to different cult groups throughout history. In a similar way to how "Working" presents the material of Studs Terkel, we are presented by actual monologues from the people involved with each cult and then a song relating to this. I was unsure as to whether the song lyrics were also genuine or just relating to the cult in question.

I may not have made that sound too appealing as a show idea but this was a really nicely presented piece with excellent music. The cast are also the musicians, taking turns on everything from piano to recorder with solo singers sharing some microphones. Everything is really well sung and despite a vary varied mix of styles the balance was generally very good, with only a slightly too loud electric guitar cutting through at times (in the opening number especially).

The cast gave very honest, mature monologues with some really beautiful quieter moments with haunting backings. The whole presentation with the blue lighting was very engaging and informative. A niggling point which would be easy to fix was that the projected text introducing each cult was displayed very quickly, I missed one or two. It would also be useful to have more information on each cult in addition to the monologues as there were a couple I hadn't heard of and to be fair, the ones I had heard of I didn't really know much about.

All in all a very interesting piece of work, very thought-provoking. "

one4review | On 29, Aug 2015

review by Alan.

Into the Woods

As their contribution to the Welsh Proms the young members of the Unknown Theatre company tackled Stephen Sondheim's enchanting melange of faitytales. It is a musical with an ingenious mix of light and darkness with plenty of challenges for director and cast.Musically it contains some of the composer's finest music with some memorable songs such as 'Children will listen' and 'No one is alone' .

In the case of this production the challenges were increased by the fact that it was performed in the cramped space of level one at St. David's Hall with a stage resembling a large postage stamp and the performers almost in the audience's laps. The low ceilng also provided a challenging acoustic that sometimes made it difficult to achieve good ensemble. Intimacy sometimes bordered on claustrophobia.

It is to the artists' credit that they made light of these circumstances and produced a sparkling show. The comic elements were to the fore with some terrific individual performances - David Gibbons and James Sidwell (who doubled as a particularly creepy wolf) were hilariously over-the-top as the two princes - their duet 'Agony' was a highlight.

Katie Murphy starred as a (very Welsh) Little Red Riding Hood and there were wonderfully assured performances from David Millard and Leanne Talbot as the Baker and his Wife who are cursed by the witch (excellently played by Carly Griffin). Michelle Kay as a strikingly good Cinderella and Craig Legg held the whole thing together admirably as the narrator.

The many musical difficulties involved in the complex score seemed to present few fears for this very talented company.

First published Friday 25 July 2014 in Reviews by Geraint Davies

in South Wales Argus
Naked Dictators

"It's 1913, and aspiring art students Adie and Lumpy have arrived in hedonistic Vienna, looking to find their fortunes and lose their virginities. Along the way they encounter whores, horny housekeepers and even a canine incarnation of Richard Wagner, all set to an original soundtrack.

Taking their style inspiration from the Emcee in 'Cabaret', the young cast are brimming with cheeky energy throughout. Jake Cornford is on particularly good form as the laddish, fur-clad Joe Stalin, and Linford Hydes' Adie reacts hilariously with Lee Evans-esque expressions. ...., the cast's confidence allows them to successfully carry off a show that is naughty, puerile and just on the right side of offensive."

Three Weeks (Rebecca Low) August 2012

A Night's Tale

Audience reviews from Edfringe.com - August 2011

"This show was absolutely fantastic and I would thoroughly recommend it. The story was captivating, the songs were catchy and the whole performance was brilliantly acted by a talented and enthusiastic crew. Myself and my family of 4 children, age 9-15, all enjoyed it. Well done and thank you. "

"An unexpected delight. My 5 and 7 year old boys loved it, and there was plenty of surreal dream like fun to keep me interested too. With live music, great singing, energetic dancing as well as a decent story linking it all, the hour passed far too quickly for all three of us. I really think the troll dance could be a new 'timewarp'. "

"I took my 10yo & 12yo granddaughters to the show. Ideally targetted for 5 to 9yo's, neither were bored and thoroughly enjoyed the energetic performance from the cast of 16. ... even 65yo kids found the hour passed quickly and came away humming the tunes!... "

 

Tamsin Lemon

&

Robert Flett

&

Roderick Hill

 

A Night's Tale

excerpt from blogger DamoWords Blog

..." great harmonies, eloquent speech & graceful acting of this bunch of teenagers singing & dancing through a perfectly pleasant children's story. ..."

DamoWords Blog
Cotton Girls ..."the second offering, Unknown's Cotton Girls, was - for my money - the best of the three plays: a three-hander, set on a ferris wheel in an American funfair in 1959, it featured tremendously engaging performances and characterisations, with some acidic one-liners and nicely observed mannerisms and accents." Graham Williams, Swansea Evening Post (Wales Final Festival, Taliesin Theatre)

Elegy

"...Strong direction and strong performances all added up to an emotional, powerful production ..."

... I did enjoy watching two very accomplished performers and would like to congratulate the cast and director."

"... The Unknown never cease to amaze me and always challenge themselves. "

Glamorgan Drama League Moderator's report
Ghost City

... "From the moment this play started to the curtain call I was enthralled, completely and utterly swept away by the very imaginative directing and excellent acting. Incredible."

... "This production had me from the opening word and held me until the final curtain."...

... "This production was, in my opinion, as good as it could have been. I could not see a professional company meeting your standards let alone improving on them."

Glamorgan Drama League Moderator's report
Rumplestilskin in Edinburgh 2008

     "... The musical accompaniment is quite something ... Singing voices like these are hard to come across ... With steadfast singing and dancing, the show whizzed past and I was left chuckling to myself..." Click here to see the original review.


"... A totally enjoyable hour watching the story of Rumplestiltskin... The atmosphere is electric and the cast enthusiastic. They obviously love to perform and this spills out to the audience who enjoy the show..."

"As a grown-up, quite entertaining as well, and Rumplestiltskin was fantastic!"

"An excellent afternoon for our mixture of children in two families - from three to nine year olds. Well acted, funny and clever - surprisingly good singing also."

Three Weeks
Monday 4 August 2008

 

www.one4review.com

 

edfringe.com

edfringe.com

 

You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown

... "Great teamwork from start to finish: the whole cast supported each other fully."

... "a delightful production from start to finish."

... "You continue to impress me and nothing seems too big a challenge to any of you."

Glamorgan Drama League Moderator's report
The Oedipus Plays

..."An enjoyable evening which flew by as I became engrossed in the performance of this demanding play. Well done, Unknown Theatre."

..."the whole cast deserve credit for pulling off a difficult production, seamlessly moulding 3 plays into one continuous piece of drama."

... "visually stimulating, with lots of pace and movement and some very strong performances. Well done."

 

Glamorgan Drama League Moderator's report
Return to the Forbidden Planet

... "I loved this production; I take my hat off to all of the crew, on and off stage."

... "The direction was spot on, the set and special effects were brilliantly done, the acting across the board was very strong indeed and the musical aspects were captivating and enjoyable."

... "This was, to all intents and purposes, a professional production."

Glamorgan Drama League Moderator's report
Facing the Truth

This Property is Condemned: ..."Overall a very good production in all aspects."

Crave: ..."A good production, with excellent team work and four characters that associated well with the material and each other. "

 

Glamorgan Drama League Moderator's report

Goldwoman Edinburgh 07

... "a hidden gem" ... 4 stars

Musical Theatre Matters website said "It was very obvious the cast enjoyed performing the show and well done to them all."

Edfringe.com reviewers gave it 4½ stars!

Three Weeks

Musical Theatre Matters website

A Slice of Saturday Night ... "This almost flawless production flowed from beginning to end in a setting which in many ways they had to fight against. However, they overcame all obstacles - literally & metaphorically - to give us a night to remember."

Teri McCarthy : Glamorgan Drama League Moderator's report
Telling Tales

Sure Thing: ... "This was a pure delight - very demanding because although short there's no margin for error ... but they pulled it off magnificently."

Checkers' Grave: ... "Well done everyone for such a perfect piece of theatre. Lovely."

Glamorgan Drama League Moderator's report
How To Eat Like a Child

..."I really enjoyed this brief show. A good production which exhibited very strong teamwork and lively enthusiasm."

..."The standard was excellent, and the concentration was good."

..."A fantastic performance in every sense of the word - you must all be very proud of yourselves."

Teri McCarthy : Glamorgan Drama League Moderator's report
Just So

"...a very enjoyable performance from a highly talented group of young performers. All of the acting, singing and dancing achieved a very good standard and direction and design was really good."

"... Overall an excellent production in all aspects."

Teri McCarthy : Glamorgan Drama League Moderator's report
Can't Stand up for Falling Down "All the appraisers thoroughly enjoyed the production and all praised the way the actors and director worked together to produce a memorable piece of theatre." Geoff Lake : Glamorgan Drama League Moderator's report
The Zoo Story

"Overall appraisers thought this was an exciting and enjoyable performance, very well acted by two talented young actors ... held my attention throughout ... the acting was spellbinding."

Geoff Lake : Glamorgan Drama League Moderator's report

Nell's Belles

"... (the) production was excellent giving all involved a chance to demonstrate a variety of skills as well as character development and a range of emotions ... the cast worked well as a team and especially nice to see was the enjoyment that every member had being on stage ... the cast demonstrated great enthusiasm for the production and the audience responded with their own."

Geoff Lake : Glamorgan Drama League Moderator's report

Rameo & Eweliet (Edinburgh)

... "a vibrant romp successfully combining chunks of Shakespeare with songs and riotous humour." Click here to see the original review

The Scotsman
Jane Ellis
23/08/03

The Wizard of Oz

..."a crisp, pacey production  ... a company of youngsters who... performed with such precision and shining enthusiasm ... the laughter never stopped ... Long may your success, enthusiasm and energy continue."

NODA News Show Reviews Spring 2003

Gold Woman (Edinburgh Fringe Festival)

..."All credit to the cast who bring credibility to the production, and touch the emotions of the audience, with both their acting and singing skills..."


..."Thoroughly entertaining and moving performance from a group of very talented teenagers... A wonderful piece of musical theatre; wonderful voices complemented by a knock-out concept and beautiful music. We loved it!..."

Three Weeks Musical Reviews 2002
published online

Solid Gold internet review by American G.Wood

Honk!

..."What an achievement to bring so many young people to the stage in such a professional way... The singing was excellent, so much work must have been done by you all to achieve such remarkable results... an excellent show."

Gareth Gibbs: Glammies
Moderator's report

Cinderella

..."This bold venture was a triumph and the show was a delight to watch ... Well staged, delightfully performed with lively choreography ... great fun and heart-warming entertainment."

NODA News Show Reviews 2002

Dance of the Dragon (Edin)

... "one of the best openings I have seen in 20 years of visiting fringe musicals" ... "Spectacular show!  It should be in the West End ... the music was fantastic, well done to all involved.  A very professional performance grasped my attention throughout." ... "A show not to be missed. "

various internet reviews 10-12 August 2001

Dance of the Dragon

..."A treat to see young talent performing with energy and enthusiasm... vibrant and interesting production."

..."There were many notable performances by the large cast... Congratulations also to the production team... This is the first time I have managed to see this Company and I was most impressed..."

Peggy Mason-Gray for Glammies

Derek Grattidge
NODA News 2002

Dracula Spectacular

..."Believe me, there is a lot of young talent coming along and it omens well for the future of the amateur (and professional) stage. A fine little company worked their socks off ... an impressive evening of youth theatre."

Frank Wooles
NODA News Show Reviews

Les Musicals

... "What a show, girls and boys from eight years up sang, acted and danced to selections from past and present musicals with such dedication and perfection...

The audience was delighted over and over again with the perfection of singing and acting."

Jeanette Ayres, Cardiff

South Wales Echo

Dazzle

..." In a large cast there were many performances to catch the eye ... A happy show where the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the youngsters was infectious."

Frank Wooles NODA News Show Reviews

Peter Pan

..." the enjoyment and enthusiasm of all the performers ... was infectious and gave us all a happy night... Congratulations to all the production team involved in this venture. It really was a good beginning and I predict that building on from this success the society will not be 'unknown' for very long."

NODA News Show Reviews 1997

Other Events

 

BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year - May 2004

Prepare Ye - "Good opening soloist.. .a daunting start... well done!"     "Excellent start from the tenor soloist... A good core music theatre sound."

Adiemus - "A well controlled opening - a good sense of life and direction... Good balance."   

One Voice - "Lots of spirit!"

General Notes :  "It's great to see a theatre group entering as a choir and enjoying their singing together.  There are lots of really lovely individual voices in this choir." (see photos here)

Adjudicators' Comments

Sainsbury's Choir of the Year - April 2002

"I enjoyed watching the 'mini-musical'  - some great voices... As a piece of music theatre, it was great.  Well disciplined - very professional... Best wishes in all your endeavours."

"Great sense of drama/presentation.  Fabulous diction - could hear every word and some first class solo voices.  Wonderful to see so many young people so immaculately prepared, disciplined and present.  A remarkable performance.  Congratulations!"

Adjudicators' Comments

 



     

 

8 May 2016
© The Unknown Theatre Company

 

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