Tackling Philip Pullman once is a bold enough move so it takes real theatrical guts to do it for the second time in a year.
But that’s exactly what Maltings Youth Theatre director Wendy Payn and her talented band of actors are doing.
‘His Dark Materials Part I’ was one of the most ambitious productions to hit the Berwick stage last year and the stakes have been upped for its sequel.
The first instalment ended on a cliffhanger any Hollywood studio would be proud of so now it’s time for the audience to take their seats once again and find out what happens to Lyra and Will as they come face to face with the harshest of enemies in unknown territories.
Reprising her role as Lyra is Lucinda Lawrie who has had to find time to revise for her GCSEs whilst preparing for the show.
“Before doing the show last year I’d read the first book but not the other two. But as soon as we came off stage I wanted to know what happened next,” she enthused.
“‘His Dark Materials II’ is a lot darker and more intense.
“The audience have to take a lot in so we begin with a quick flashback of what has happened so far.”
Max Manning is once again stepping into the shoes of Lyra’s closet confidant Will.
And like Lucinda he said it was important that he fully understood what his character was going through for the audience to connect with him.
“You can’t just stand there and spit the words out; you’ve got to know what you’re talking about and understand what emotion is required.”
As well as boasting some fine acting performances, the Youth Theatre’s first foray into the realms of Pullman was also visually impressive and the cast said that the special effects had been cranked up a notch ready for curtain up tonight.
“People watching the show are bombarded with a lot of information and are expected to keep up when the plot goes in different directions,” explained Frazer Smiles who is going from a cheeky chappy in Berwick Academy’s ‘Our Day Out’ to the sinister President.
“There’s some fantastic lighting effects and dancing - oh and there’s a fight as well - Wendy’s done a really good job.”
“With the new sound system in The Maltings half of the audience will probably end up deaf,” joked David Robson, a fellow member of the ‘Our Day Out’ alumni.
“I’m playing Brother Jasper who is constantly pursuing Lyra and Will to kill them - it’s a nice change from the sweet and innocent parts I usually play!”
Although the cast remained tight lipped on how ‘Materials’ II’ would end they’ve promised it doesn’t have a cliffhanger like its predecessor. Watch the story unfold from tonight.