Let's Hear it for the Kids!
| By Lucy Beirne
Children have always been a huge part of theatre, but I think it is now safe to say that their talent and enthusiasm is slowly dominating the West End, and with good reason too.
Currently in the West End, we have maggots, orphans, rock stars, lions cubs and mini MJs. Along with touring ballerinas and the plucky pickpocketers opening this summer at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – I think the loudest song needs to go to the children who are smashing these West End productions, night after night.
Not only do the children perform their socks off to a (more often than not) sold out audience, they then go home and spend the next day at school, keeping their education as en pointe as their toes. I was lucky enough to catch another excellent cast of Matilda, who were just as revolting as they have ever been. Young Lilian Hardy played the title role, and she carried the role like a true pro with comic timing beyond her years. As the show is set to embark on its first UK tour, maggots from all across the UK have the chance to audition and join the cast and show audiences from Sunderland to Dublin what they are made of.
After premiering on Broadway, the rock stars of Horace Green opened in the West End in November 2016. On Broadway, children are allowed to perform continuously, however in the UK, Casting Directors must search for multiple teams of children to undertake these roles. If you haven’t seen these super human children rock out, there isn’t another show in the West End which will lift your spirits higher. Toby Lee played the role of Zack when I caught the show, and he rocked out with such ease there was no question that performing was in his blood. These kids can sing, dance and play instruments to a West End standard… need I say more?
After a solid chorus of 5 star reviews, The Ferryman recently finished it’s run at the Royal Court, prior to it’s opening at The Gieguld later this year with a stellar cast including five child actors (one being a thespian baby). We also have everyone’s favourite intellectual Adrian Mole making its London debut this summer at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
The theatre culture in London is as bursting as it has ever been, but with more kids treading the boards in title West End roles, it makes you wonder how they manage it all. That is, until you’re lucky enough to see them sing their tiny lungs out on stage and you realise, they’re having as much fun as you are.