Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

Humanity shines through fog of terror

Taking on all the roles in an act of terror is a cast of five: Laura Coxson, Daniel Beaton, Anna Garrett, James Kay, Rachael Pickard

Slaughter of the Children

Hall Green Little Theatre Youth Theatre


In September 2004, news of a most shocking event in recent world history was broadcast – more than 1,100 people, almost 800 of them young children, were being held hostage in a school in Beslan by Chechen rebels.

At the end of the harrowing three day siege more than 300 of the hostages were dead, almost 200 of them children.

Julie King's bold play Slaughter of the Children is a beautifully crafted, compassionate work that explores the thoughts and feelings of those involved - parents, children, teachers, officials and even the terrorists/freedom fighters  are given a voice. The result is a powerful and humane piece of theatre.

Roy Palmer's production is outstanding. The acting throughout is focussed and compelling.

 Under his direction the five strong cast - Daniel Beaton, Laura Coxson, Anna Garret, James Kay and Rachael Louise Pickard move effortlessly from one role to another, from child to adult, parent to terrorist, engaging with different emotions and experiences.

The result is a play that reserves judgment and one that shows people linked through a common humanity. Nevertheless, it is the fear of the children and the anguish of the parents that provoke our pity and distress most of all and make us question what could incite anyone to do something as cruel as this to fellow human beings.

Mr Palmer's design uses various shades and tones of grey to bring these shadows from our recent history to the stage; the outline of the weapons used stencilled on the floor provides a constant reminder of the violence of the situation and the moody down and side lighting adds to the nightmare effect, helping to create a sense of the horror of the event.

This is a superb piece of theatre and runs until Saturday 06-08-11.

Jean Wilde 

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