BWW Review: WHAT WE WISHED FOR, Sheffield Crucible Theatre
A compelling fusion of traditional fairy tales with contemporary society, What We Wished For, by Sheffield People's Theatre, follows the journey of community members in modern-day Sheffield, as they struggle to fight back against a mysterious invasion of Wolves that instil fear and threaten their population.
In this world premiere, directed by Emily Hutchinson, the characters - from various social backgrounds - must put aside their differences and prejudices, and strategically work together to contain and prevent the epidemic of Wolves threatening to harm their loved ones and destroy their comfortable way of life.
Chris Bush's writing is captivating throughout. Her cleverly subtle fairy tale references provide moments of light humour, and an element of mystery is maintained throughout. The frequent references to Sheffield culture convey a sense of local unity and pride, clearly appreciated by the audience.
The story is original and creative, however the ending does seem to be slightly lacking in comparison to the excellent standard of the rest of the play, with no real moment of finality. The take-home message seems slightly out of line with the rest of the show.
The large and diverse cast possesses a range of acting abilities: some performances are amateur, others are exceptional. Jennifer Derbyshire is excellent as May, bringing warmth and comedy to what otherwise could have been perceived as more dismal scenes. Many of the younger cast members also give strong performances, with Isa Wood offering a wonderfully captivating characterisation of Red.
Kevin Jenkins' creative vision and set design is refreshingly inventive. Large storybook props positioned across the stage are opened and closed by the actors throughout the performance, effortlessly transforming into new parts of scenery. This not only helps us to follow the plot more clearly, despite many rapid scene changes, but also nicely introduces the idea of the audience dipping in and out of a particular story.
The work of movement director Darragh O'Leary allows the many scene transitions to be made smoothly by the actors, and the team's creative decision not to fully conceal these set changes but incorporate them more centrally into performances is both practical and engaging.
What We Wished For is an innovative and unique show, performed admirably by Sheffield People's Theatre and executed flawlessly by a talented creative team - enchanting for all, but particularly to be celebrated by those from the local region.
Photo credit: Mark Douert