I discovered Script Youth Musical Theatre Company earlier this year with their amazing production of Grease, so had no hesitation in booking tickets for their latest offerings. I say that in plural as the evening was split into two with the first half featuring a newly formed juniors’ section and Beauty and the Beast while the seniors treated the audience to a Musical Theatre Showcase in Unscripted.

Beauty and the Beast & Unscripted — Grange Playhouse, Walsall — 10 December 2022

It’s bold to separate the ages but the move should prove good as the younger members can now develop at their own pace and not fall behind in the shadows of their older counterparts. This showed with confidence at being to the forefront in Beauty and the Beast and it was noticeable how well they shined. The panto featured excellent performances, particularly from Gracie Reynolds (Beauty), Hannah Bennet (Beast), Alex Brown (Bruno), Edward Lawlor (Papa), Lexi Shaw (Teapot), Isla Thorpe (Cup), Darci Rice (Clock) and a lovely extrovert character from Lee Stubbington as Candlestick. Narrating and delivering a good offering of Beauty and the Beast (Tale as Old as Time) was Maddie Howard who repeated the song alongside Gracie Reynolds with full company at the end of the show. We also had company versions of Be Our Guest. There are a couple of supporting members I’d also like to mention (even though I’d love to name them all). The first is Poppy Kerr (An acrobatic Rose) and Zachary Duke as the mime who I could not take my eyes off due to some brilliant facial expressions. Yes, these kids are young, and have a long way to go, but here is a good start and who knows where they will be in a few years’ time.

Beauty and the Beast & Unscripted — Grange Playhouse, Walsall — 10 December 2022

After an interval the older members of Script took centre stage with songs from musical theatre and film opening with Finlay Laidlaw and Mya Cartwright leading a full ensemble with The Greatest Show. Following, Evie Rice and Harry Robbins delivered a lovely fun rendition of Love is an Open Door (Frozen).

Again, impossible to name every number but some of my other favourites included We Will Rock You, On My Own (Superbly sung by Sophia Powers) and Harriet. This latter number was an outing for a Script Society formed band, Fading Embers (Ollie Roberts, Finlay Laidlaw, Kadenna Glendon and Harry Robbins). It’s great to see initiative and another avenue for talent to progress and shine.

Beauty and the Beast & Unscripted — Grange Playhouse, Walsall — 10 December 2022

I also enjoyed numbers from my two most favourite musicals. Seventeen (Heathers) was executed well by Erin Mooney and Sam Williams and I was delighted and could not help joining in during Stick it to the Man (School of Rock). I don’t care how loud I sang, it’s a song I have performed myself and relish every chance to relive the moment. Top number of the night, though, was Ex Wives – The Queens (Six the Musical) featuring Erin Phillips, Erin Mooney, Mollie Fitzpatrick, Sophia Powers, Evie Rice and Ella Gibson-Brookes. Brilliant.

Yes, this was a youth production and there is always room for improvement, obviously. The only area I would say was the case, however, would be for more confidence and audience engagement, especially during rock numbers like Stick It and Rock You. Break that fourth wall and get in the audiences’ faces. Performers will engage them and gain so much that anything is possible in the future.

Beauty and the Beast & Unscripted — Grange Playhouse, Walsall — 10 December 2022

The shows were produced and choreographed brilliantly by Louise Salt, Tim Rice, Molly Chamberlain, Madeline Fleming and Ellie Quinn. Compering events was Rob Bissett who linked songs with sometimes awful, but still funny jokes. He did pick on me at one point in the front row but at least this was to highlight that I was the strongest in joining in an audience participation song. As a performer myself, I’ll take that.

Overall, a wonderful night, so well done to everyone involved. Script Youth Musical Theatre Company return to Highbury Theatre in Sutton Coldfield next July with School of Rock. Oh, how I’d love to be a teenager again and part of that experience as I know the show so well, but I’ll settle for watching these talented youngsters bring it to life instead.


Antony N Britt