CHEESE, TREES AND WICKEDNESS Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester

TAKE around 30 young people, give them five days to stage a musical show, learning all the lines, the songs and the dance routines, then invite an audience to see what they have achieved, that’s the annual Combined Arts Week presentation organised by the town’s Youth Theatre group.

Their latest production features conflict between two kingdoms in which the heiress to a throne is kidnapped as a baby and brought up with a cheese making family, not realising her true identity.

Twenty years later when the king dies, his loyal subjects set out to find the princess, much to the annoyance of her younger sister who is cheesed off and wants to keep the throne all to herself.

In their search for the mystery princess, everyone gets involved in a show that is full of singing and dancing, written by Julian Barnicoat and Pete Thorogood who make sure that every member of the cast has a named role and something to say, a very nice touch.

From a scary queen, played by Imogen Bell to a comic Sir Notalot, a brilliantly silly William Bishop, every member of the cast made the most of their roles with Maia Lincoln as the princess, Susie King as her scheming sister, Teagan Schaffer as the nurse and Ellie Faulkner as the wise woman, while Josef Gedye was the overdressed guardian of the throne and Matt Taylor was the modest cheesy lover.

Full marks go to the backstage crew for a week of hard work and to the enthusiastic youngsters who pulled out all the stops to bring a lively musical show to the stage in just one week, a good job well done.