Karla Crome as Stella
2 June 2011 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Constant news reports from war zones have a deadening effect; inuring us to the suffering of those involved. Amanda Dalton’s Powder Monkey tackles this disassociation by showing the general effect of conflict upon individuals – specifically children. Stella ( Karla Crome) awaits the return of her solider brother and feels that war may sometimes be acceptable; her friend Worm ( Sam Swann) has pacifist beliefs but is drawn towards war toys. Their discussions are interrupted when child soldier and refugee AK (Susan Wokoma) brings the reality of conflict. Director Matt Peover delivers an intense production –perhaps a little too strong for the young target audience. A particularly disturbing sequence sees child soldiers undertake an attack as if it is a childish game. James Cotterill provides an atmospherically bleak background – a single twisted tree, blasted ash underfoot and a forest of scaffolding. Dalton’s script is powerful but occasionally too ambitious – a fantasy scene involving Lord Nelson adds little. But it is also surprisingly funny especially when delivered with Swann’s excellent comic timing. The young cast are uniformly outstanding. Crome hides Stella’s hurt and fear under a defensive brittle, stroppy persona. Wokoma describes her actions as a child soldier in an abrupt, fragmented voice as if brainwashed. Swann achieves the rare feat, for an older actor, of creating a believable, authentic child and a very appealing one at that. Powder Monkey, although aimed at a target audience of nine years and older has a great deal to offer for the more jaded sensibilities of adults. - Dave Cunningham Related Content Back to Northwest Homepage
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