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Review: The Scrapbook by Quartz Youth Theatre

Just over an hour of intense, thought-provoking ideas, comedy, sadness and boundless energy

Imagine how many times you have been photographed today.

Maybe you appear on CCTV during a shopping trip to town, or perhaps a tourist has taken a selfie in Chester’s Roman amphitheatre and you appear in the background.

Perhaps you were in town when the Winter Watch parade passed through the city in December or stuck in a traffic jam on the A55 with our photographer standing by.

The stories behind the unknown people in our family snaps form the backdrop to a new devised play by Quartz Youth Theatre, being performed at Chester Music Theatre in Boughton this week.

The Scrapbook centres on a lecture by philosophy don Theo (Olivia McNee) which develops as interested student Peter (Sian McAdam) starts to question his theory of the personalities behind the people.

This is the second production by the youth arm of Theatre in the Quarter and results in just over an hour of intense, thought-provoking ideas, comedy, sadness, and boundless energy.

Boys play girls and women play men, relationships develop and life happens.

Ed Ramsey’s Roger is fed up of living in his famous wife’s shadow and attempts to make friends of his own. Awkwardly drinking a half pint of something in the pub, he bumps into the equally embarrassed Andrew (Jenny Dewhirst) who is waiting for his famous spouse Carol to finish filming her latest cookery programme.

The duo develop a friendship, travel and get new jobs, but the uxorious shadow grows ever larger.

The thing with Quartz is that everyone plays their role and the ensemble is every bit as good as its inherent parts but Ed’s characterisation of Roger – down to the unwieldy way he holds his glass – deserves mention as do the fantastic flourishes of Sam Harvey’s Inspector Clouseau-style thief Jacques Noir.

Olivia’s Theo is mysterious and unfathomable – a sure byproduct of lecturing in a subject which must inevitably mess with your mind – and Sian’s Peter is intense and studious.

Elliot Lush is a caring and loving Bridget and the Skype (which she pronounces Skeep) scene between her and Neville (Kate Dixon) is a hoot.

Directed by Steph Green with music by Matt Baker The Scrapbook is a little gem.

The Scrapbook is at Chester Music Theatre tonight (February 19) at 7pm (tickets £6 concs £4) and tomorrow (February 20) at Action Transport Theatre, Whitby Hall at 7pm.

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