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Fly Me to the Moon: Millie’s Dream

25 July 2017

Millie’s Dream

by Emma-Louise Tinniswood

Step On Stage, Queen Charlotte Theatre, Richmond

Review by Simon Ledbury

The direction of our lives depend on so many what-ifs, some for the better, some for the worse.  But what if the what-if is something entirely catastrophic: the sort of thing that we believe only happens to other people?

When the audience sat down in the Queen Charlotte Theatre, Richmond for the annual showcase performed by the Musical Theatre students of Step On Stage, I am sure they were expecting light-hearted musicals.  But the advanced group had something else in store for them.   A brand-new play called Millie’s Dream, written by Emma-Louise Tinniswood especially for ten young actors in the 11-17 age group.  However, this was far from the light-hearted musical the audience had been expecting and, right from the beginning, it was a riveting experience which had the audience hooked throughout.

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Millie’s Dream tells the story of an eight years old girl who is involved in a car accident with her parents and younger brother.  Her mother dies in the accident and Millie is so badly injured that she is unable to walk.   The play takes place in the hospital ward and focusses on Millie’s love of writing and telling stories and on the story she creates to help her cope with her situation.   But this is also the story of Millie aged 28 and the play moves between the two characters, showing how events have changed Millie and how they make her the person she becomes.

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This was a very talented cast of young actors, who delivered every word with the skill of much older performers.   You could hear a pin drop in the auditorium from the very start and it was clear that a number of audience members were moved to tears.   The flashbacks of the crash are brought vividly to life and one audience member was particularly moved as she later explained how realistically the crash and the policewoman’s descriptions were of the scene, and how vividly her own car accident several years ago was brought back to life with the play.

Jasmine Carmody played young Millie and Millie Beazley played older Millie.   Both of these actors should be praised for their sensitive and mature performances of what is a difficult subject.   Katie Meara played the mum with thoughtfulness.  Her monologue speaking to her daughter from beyond was a particularly poignant moment.  But all cast members played an equal role in the beautifully written and choreographed ensemble sections and they were delivered with conviction and passion.   Mime and choral speaking within the play was outstanding.    Especially composed music was used at key moments and the set was minimalistic to allow for easy changes of scene and for moments of well-choreographed physical theatre sequences, such as when Millie is involved in the accident and when she travels to the moon in her story.

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This was a sophisticated performance and a moving play which deserves to be seen by a wider audience, who will not fail to be moved.

Simon Ledbury

July 2017

Photographs by Louise Hill

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From → Drama, Reviews

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