The Talent Box returned to The Blackmore Theatre in Exmouth last week with their original production of ‘Edward,’ loosely based upon the story of Edward Scissorhands, which they performed to full houses on both nights.

The Talent Box is a self-funded, Exmouth-based theatre group for adults with learning disabilities and neurodivergence run by Jane O’Connell, who said she is delighted at the group’s growing popularity and the ever-increasing deserved recognition for their hard work and talent.

Jane said: "The story of ‘Edward’ touched upon the importance of embracing other people’s differences and avoiding making judgements based solely upon appearances. There was plenty of humour within the show, along with several more poignant moments for the audience to share. As always, the cast encouraged the audience to clap along and participate in the more popular musical numbers. 

"The part of Edward was superbly played by Alex Downing, who captured the hearts of the audience with his sensitive and moving portrayal of the character, both with his excellent singing and movement.

"Luke Evans is a welcome addition to the group and he gave a powerful performance as a jealous local boy; his strong singing and dancing talents were a credit to him.

"Molly Bradley made a delightful love interest for ‘Edward’ and performed a moving mime sequence with beautiful timing. James Tetlow, as Edward’s friend, put his heart and soul into his performance and especially for the final duet with ‘Edward’, which moved several of the audience to tears.

"Another newcomer the Talent Box are delighted to have gained is Gemma Fearnley. Gemma showed off her acting skills by playing multiple roles and was an excellent leader in the cast musical numbers, with her accomplished dancing and singing skills.

"An audience favourite, Robert Hatfield, portrayed the ‘dad’ of the show, with his usual warmth and good humour, whilst Nina Dutt as his daughter, gave an enthusiastic and slick performance, playing both her roles with confidence. Nicki Slynn and Debbie Reed, were suitably prickly and comical as the intolerant neighbours, accompanied by Anthony Richardson, the long suffering husband.

"Andrew Howard and Hannah Pooley were an ever-smiling, delightful couple who lit up their moments on the stage, with some elegant dance moves. Ashleigh Cunliffe- Howarth, one of the three newcomers to the group, proved what an asset she is, with her all round performance skills and congratulations to her on her singing debut.

"Chris Brown gave a superb rendition of ‘Thriller’ and showed off his Michael Jackson moves, much to the audience's delight. Tony Hafner, a well known Exmouth local, was excellent in the boy band number and confidently sang and danced throughout the production. Due to surgery, regular Talent Box player,  Jayne Rawlinson, was unable to be in the show and was greatly missed, however Kevin Cross stepped up to the challenge and with just weeks to go, he threw himself into rehearsals and proved a huge success."         

Jane added that The Talent Box would very much like to thank the Cranford Sports Centre for the use of their rehearsal space and their kindness.

The Talent Box will be performing a few songs from ‘Edward’ and some previous shows at the Exmouth Festival on the 21st July at 12.30 pm.