Hand Stitched is a Rutland based theatre company for young people, born when a group of A level students required an outlet for their talent on leaving college pre-university/drama school. It is currently a blend of this year’s Rutland County College A level Drama candidates and other local actors. This company recently performed their version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in the library space at Rutland County College where the audience were aged from six to eighty years old. The text had been expertly reduced to accommodate a performance of just over an hour which kept even the youngest in the audience fidget free.
Of course I expected these young actors to be competent, but competent doesn’t begin to do them justice. As a company, they were seamless and compelling benefitting in no small way from the experience of Richard Hodgeson, who also co-directed, and Nick Mulvey, both of whom completed their studies in Rutland two years ago.
The company were all so talented it seems rather unfair to pick out individuals but I must mention Alex Mulvey as Juliet who was so convincingly coquettish with a stubborn, selfish streak; a blend that only teenage girls possess; Ben Hinton is also one to watch – a completely unselfconscious actor whose already impressive range took us on his short journey from carefree lad to heartbreak and ultimate tragic death. Mark Brown as Tybalt was understated, brooding and full of dark malice and Sinead McGuire, who played the nurse, did not so much steal all the scenes she was in but simply popped them in her pocket and sauntered off with them!
What a talent. What a group. What a treat. If you get the chance to see this performance again, I urge you to do so. I was riveted from start to finish. It was utterly convincing and I have seen lesser performances in the West End!
By Amander Meade