A Western with a modern twist

Whitwell’s Junior Players presented Ye Ha at Whitwell Community Centre last week.

The group now number a very healthy 21 members, the newest recruit being just four years old.

This musical comedy by Craig Hawes had just the right level of humour and action for children to understand, with some old jokes to cater for the more mature members of the audience.

If you can picture a group of boys with attitudes not unlike that of Just William, then you have a grasp of what some of the cast looked like. They carried their guns with a nonchalant air and adjusted their hats as if they wore them everyday. These miniature cowboys and villains were funny and acted with a lack of self-consciousness that was very refreshing.

The show had a female equivalent of the Lone Ranger who, because no-one would take her seriously as a girl with guns, wore a mask and became a fighter for law and order. This was a western with a modern twist.

The story had all the usual characters with a sheriff, villain, bar full of cowboys and their gals and a duo from the local funeral directors named Snuffit and Rot.

Of course there had to be ‘injuns’ and in this case they were from the Two-Stroke tribe, which set up a lovely gag that only came to fruition at the end when the treasure map revealed the treasure in question was oil.

It’s always the case that some things done by children are unintentionally funny. The audience was tickled by one cowboy’s itchy hat. As he got hotter his hat got itchier and he scratched with vigour and gave us a big grin.

One of his fellow actors had problems with his gun not quite fitting in his pocket. He didn’t seem to have a holster and one of his pals kept poking him to try and draw his attention to the fact that the gun was about to fall out.

Older members of the cast acted with ease. It showed they are now ready to join the senior players and carry on the Whitwell tradition well into the future.

A cup was awarded to a young actor who had done well in the show. This time it was Lilly Burdett. Some parts allow actors to shine and her role of Wilbur, the reluctant sheriff, certainly did. Not only did she remember a great amount of dialogue without prompting, she stood front of stage to sing solos which must have taken a vast amount of courage.

I loved this production and think the rest of the audience did too judging by their response.

Whitwell Junior Players have come on in leaps and bounds to get where they are now. If this is the standard they have set for the future then I would urge you to give them a try. You certainly won’t be disappointed.