Primary Times REview of Guys and Dolls

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First review of Ragtime

This great review appeared in Primary Times today.  Thanks to Lucy Leslie for her kind words.

Ragtime, Forth Children’s Theatre Inverleith Church Hall,

Award-winning FCT proudly presents the Scottish premiere of ‘Ragtime’. Set in America at the turn of the last century, this epic musical is filled with show-stopping songs and inspirational characters.

A must-see this Fringe! www.fct.org.uk

Sitting in the church hall at Inverleith, you could be forgiven for thinking you had been transported to the West End or Broadway, such is the musical talent that is on offer in Forth Children’s Theatre’s production of Ragtime.

It is set against the backdrop of America at the turn of the 20th century, a time of great hope and change. It is a time when racial tensions threaten the fragile co-existence of the black and white Americans, stirred by the growing number of immigrants arriving in search of the American dream.

Tateh and his daughter have just arrived in America from Latvia, convinced that the streets will be paved in the gold, but instead find poverty and destitution. Sarah, a black servant girl, is an unmarried mother. She is shunned by society, but given shelter and compassion by her employer, the wealthy ‘Mother’, acting against the prejudiced views of her class.

Meanwhile racial unrest is growing as the black population attempts to emulate the prosperity of their white neighbours. The African Americans of Harlem are represented by Coalhouse, a ragtime pianist and proud owner of a Model T Ford, who dreams of equality with tragic consequences.

It is an epic story told in an epic production. The cast boasts over 40 immensely talented young people, as well as a live band. The ensemble scenes are spectacular -fabulous musical numbers performed with energy, commitment and passion. The effect is quite spine-tingling. It is also an incredibly moving piece of theatre, in no small part due to the amazing performances from the lead actors, in particular Hannah Scott as Mother and Rebecca Clark as Sarah. They both demonstrate a maturity and presence that belies their youth, and marks them out as potential stars of the future.

Jojo, 7, sat spell-bound throughout the performance, she commented: “It was amazing to see such young people singing and dancing so well. Some of them looked not much older than me and they were brilliant. I really like the little girl who was very poor because she looked so sad, but I was glad that she was happy in the end.”