Previous school productions include the following:
Gobblefunk! - (Junior Play 2017)
Anyone with previous experience of a show put on by Puggers’ Productions (Unltd) knows to expect the unexpected. However, even this knowledge didn’t prepare us for the originality and imagination that was present in spades during 2017’s Junior play, Gobblefunk.
Written by Mr Pugsley, we met a group including three very unwilling book-hating children as they arrived for a school trip to the Roald Dahl Museum in Buckinghamshire. Breaking away from the crowd, the three proceeded to have encounters with various characters from his books. These meetings were ably set up by Will Woodhouse and Lily Steward posing as friendly museum ghosts. A gang of gorgeous Whipplescrumpets, viewed with amusing suspicion by George Freeland’s character James Peek, provided an abundance of lively singing and dancing along with relevant Dahl quotes to punctuate the action.
Some of the cast showed exceptional talent in being able to sing while performing some pretty complicated choreography. I thought William Hudson outstanding as Willy Wonka, and his beautifully written list of sweets must have been very challenging to remember. Alexandra Harvey dazzled with her star turn for the Whipple Scrumpets, she has a really stunning voice. Sabrina Davy gave immaculate renditions of both her songs, was foot perfect and very believable as Matilda.
Of the breakaway gang, Zara Reeve was the first to be persuaded that books were great and therefore she was able to gain sight of Siana, the head Whippelscrumpet, at the conclusion. Jamie Harrison held onto his sulky persona for a very long time but eventually even he was won over by the wonderfully creative characters portrayed by many of the talented actors in year 6. Who could forget Harry Colquhoun’s epically balanced turn on stilts as the BFG, with a wonderful accent and totally nailing some of Dahl’s trickiest dialogue, with Konstanz Culshaw Markham as Sophie figuratively in the palm of his hand? Harry Smiley as a worryingly credible second-hand car dealer and his tipsy wife Mrs Wormwood, so convincingly played by Thea Eadie … The naughty children in the sweetshop including Jonty Nicholas and Charlie Standish trying to hide a mouse in Beth Lankester’s jar of Gobstoppers … Milla Hudson’s totally terrifying Trunchbull? Archie Eadie and Ellen Williams making each other miserable as Mr and Mrs Twit? Willa Bullen making us laugh so much as fat Aunt Sponge while The Grand High Witch was very convincingly scary and mean and beautifully danced by Cecile Monot … and the strangely bewitching Archie Durden Smith eating cake after cake on the edge of the stage as Augustus Gloop?
I would like to mention everyone but the cast was huge and so was the support crew. The year 5’s added their wonderful voices to the big numbers and it was fabulous to have so many involved – they really did add to the magic.
The costumes and set were as always brilliant – it was a particular challenge this time to recreate the actual museum, carried off with aplomb, simple but very effective. So much work goes in to these productions behind the scenes, from props and make up to carpentry, choreography, lighting and late suppers – congratulations and thank you to all the staff and children who made it possible.
I rejoiced to see such kindness and mutual support across the whole crew – subtly done but lovely to see. Some were surely nervous but I saw very little evidence, in fact they looked incredibly confident and rightly proud of all they’d achieved. They worked so hard, with many hours of dedication in numerous rehearsals. A challenging script, with long monologues for some, and full length songs with complicated choreography, gave no quarter to the fact that they were only ten and eleven years old. Older and more experienced actors would have been proud to have put on such a polished show. With such a great message to communicate, it’s a shame it was two nights only, perhaps a tour Mr P?
The closing flourish of that wonderful star studded film (featuring the most dashingly handsome Bond ever seen – take a bow, Jack Idiens) put together by Asst Director Seb Engert was a masterstroke, and how wonderful to be loaned the projector, many thanks to Maurice Eilec for that. There was some pretty fancy music editing done by Jack Rennie, and let’s not forget the haunting words of that poem spoken so heart wrenchingly by our very own Mr Pugsley to close the performance. Don’t we all wish we could bottle the enthusiasm shown by all in the drama department – they ask a lot of our children who unfailingly rise to the challenge? This was no exception, congratulations to all those involved.
We were treated to an encore of the big ensemble number, Revolting Children, which had us all on our feet wishing the fun could last another hour. What a great end to a great night and we are already very much looking forward to Mr P’s next effort, which I gather is already brewing …
School of Rock - (Senior Play 2017)
There is no question that kids at Cheam are given great opportunities in so many areas of school life, but nowhere is this more evident than in School Production week. The buzz around the school was huge and the excitement bubbled like an over shaken fizzy drink ready to explode. After the opening song on the opening night it was clear that this show was going to be a great success, and indeed five minutes into the opening night a parent turned to me and said, "wow! This is really good!" The students had grabbed this amazing opportunity with both hands and the audience had loved it. Smiles stretched across the faces of actors and audience alike, and as the director I have to say that I felt a huge sense of pride in what we had ALL achieved together. The fun and enjoyment of this show was infectious.
'We had great fun dancing to the songs in the musical and we must say a massive thanks to Hayley Pitts who choreographed all the dances. She is a exceptionally talented dance teacher, who made even the more complicated dances incredibly fun as we strived to perform with the energy of the children in the West End. We also want to say a huge thank you to the technical team, who created a perfect atmosphere for us to perform in. This was a difficult and complex job, which they performed with minimal preparation time and without any fuss. To the back stage team, led so accurately by Seb Engert, who were always slick with scene changes and props (although they did tell us off a number of times for being too loud backstage!). To the costumes and makeup teams led by Charlotte Little, Madame Fortier, Mrs Ansell and Mrs Ellis, who were outstanding and made it so much easier to get into character. And lastly, to the set building team who created such a brilliant set for us to perform in. Much time was spent on designing and building the set, which looked fantastic and worked brilliantly.' (Maddie and Olivia)
'Holes' At The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016
This was Cheam School’s inaugural trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It began, as tours often do, with an intensive three days’ rehearsals at school. The show we had to take with us was in its relative infancy and had lots of ‘holes’ – excuse the pun, but the children had remembered their lines over the course of 4 weeks of holiday, so that was a bonus! By the end of the third day of rehearsal, and with a reasonable dress-rehearsal under our belts, the group headed into the weekend in good spirits, nervous at the huge adventure ahead of us and yet hugely buoyed by the knowledge that we potentially had a super show to share at Edinburgh Fringe: the world’s biggest Arts festival.
The team met at Newbury station early on the Sunday morning, all sporting their newly acquired ‘Holes T-Shirts’, and after a long train journey, a short tube and a brief cab ride, we had arrived in the capital city of Scotland.
The arrival up the long drive of Fettes College, our accommodation for the week, was quite breath taking and our vista for the next 7 days was one we never tired of – our very own Hogwarts… By the end of the day we were all shattered, but also eagerly anticipating the follow day’s first performance…
An early start of 06.00 for George Chancellor and his technical crew, whilst the thespians got their beauty sleep, meant that by the time the cast arrived at C-Venue, our performance space for the week, all the technical aspects of the show were prepared and ready for the first performance of ‘Holes’. At 11.50, 10 minutes before the scheduled start time for the show, the cast entered the performance space for the first time. A ‘pre-doors opening’ 70 tickets had been sold and though we knew some were parents and friends, we also knew that the lion’s share were not. The public had come to see the show from promotion only. No pressure there then? At £7.50 a ticket they had the right to complain, walk out or just hate it.
65 minutes later, at 12.56 precisely, the 1st Show ended and there was a buzz about the place that we all became increasingly accustomed to as the week went on. It had gone well! It had gone really well! The parents that saw it were full of beans, the children were alive with the adrenaline rush that comes from these sorts of fixes, and we were up and away.
After the performance we left mums and dads, and headed out to the Royal Mile, Edinburgh’s busy hot spot for advertising at the Fringe, to sell our show-an important part of the experience and one which we would become very successful at as the week progressed. Following on from the ‘manic Mile’ the cast went to see their first show of the tour ‘Leaf by Niggle’. It was at this point in the day that the 06.00 start to the day proved a little too much for both George and a certain member of staff, who won’t be named, as they couldn’t help but nodding off during this beautifully poignant and sentimental journey of discovery through a man’s life, which most thoroughly enjoyed.
For the majority, this began the regular pattern for the week: breakfast, a noisy song filled Karaoke journey on the bus to the venue, our performance, quick lunch break and then engrossing oneself into the wonders that the Fringe has to offer. And the Cheam Team really did make the most of what the Fringe has to offer: from the thrills and breath-taking dynamism of the Canadian Circus, to the hysterical Python saucy madness of The Cambridge Footlights. From the slightly macabre oddness of the brilliant masked production from Familie Floz to the downright bonkers craziness of Bunk Puppet’s ‘Tink Tank’. All in all we saw 10 shows in the week! It was a week’s journey of discovery for all of us. A journey that certainly will have changed the children’s lives forever.
The children lived, breathed and loved every show. Animated discussions on the way home in taxis or on the school bus rarely strayed from the narrations that they had just seen or the skills that they had just observed. We shared many hours together and this will be the lasting memory of the tour. We all felt the energy of each our six performances of Holes. We all experienced the buzz of promoting our play with complete strangers. We all saw with our own eyes the diverse and wonderful brilliance of what the world offered by Edinburgh’s Fringe has to offer in Live Theatre.
What a bond we all shared over this exhausting week. What a great tribute to the bond we all have shared under the cloak of Cheam School. For most of this party a bond that now has ended as they head on to their Senior Schools. Ended but not forgotten. Forever shared between us all. Omnia Caritatae never more obvious than on this, the 1st Cheam Tour to Edinburg’s Fringe Festival. What a wonderful way to end these Cheamite’s careers and a wonderful way to spend some of the holidays!
CATS - (Senior Play 2016)
CATS REVIEW – What a send off!
I don’t think there is a single person associated with the Spring term’s extraordinary production of Cats that doesn’t feel an incredible sense of pride and good fortune. It all began with the huge generosity of Lord Lloyd-Webber and some quite remarkable inspiration from Justin Pugsley. What an incredibly kind gesture it was of his Lordship to give us permission to perform his brilliant musical to Mr Pugsley’s clever script and Mr Bennett’s fabulous arrangement. Who knew how many lead roles could be squeezed into one show and how lucky and proud Mr & Mrs J must have felt to watch this fabulous tribute. There were more than a few hankies at the ready for the final performance. A night where staff members and children gave every ounce of their effort to demonstrate their deep love and very great thanks to their beloved Mr & Mrs J.
Having Justin Pugsley and Tim Bennett at the helm of all things music and drama at Cheam is where this review must begin. With his clever script, Mr Pugsley ticked just about every box. It brilliantly ensured as many as possible were able to have their moment to shine, through an adaptation that delivered so much to both children and audience in terms of its educational content. The wonderful, imagined conversations between T.S. Elliot and Ezra Pound, as he embarked on writing his anthology of poems on Cats, were performed fantastically by Archie Del Mar as Ezra and William Worthington as T.S. Elliot. The vocabulary was incredibly impressive and delivered impeccably by these two, who looked very comfortable swilling whisky together in their armchairs. Alongside them, James Harrison played Thomas Faber, Elliot’s godson, so convincingly he might easily have been from the Preprep had his acting not been so good.
As an audience member and parent I feel so proud of our school, our children and everyone who helped put this quite mind blowing production together. The quality of the music, acting and drama left a feeling we could probably fool outsiders into believing Cheam was in fact a performing arts school! It wasn’t just a smattering of talented children we were presented with but a whole raft of utterly amazing voices and fabulous, early blooming actors and actresses. The kittens didn’t spend a moment where they were not completely engaged in their mischief. In fact the entire cast must be congratulated on the feat of concentration it must take to remain cat-like, twitches included for the entire performance. Not a soul lost focus once and the result was a show that none of us will easily forget.
Of course, there were some stand out performances from the soloists and it was wonderful to see how lucky they all felt to have been cast in their roles. As a year 8 parent, having known most of these children for five years, I am so proud to see what they have all achieved. Lucia Imi was captivating as Victoria, the ballet cat. She is certainly a formidable triple threat now with her beautiful dancing, flawless voice and strong acting skills. Munkustrap, played by Scarlett Longfield was such a pleasure to watch too, the crystal clarity of her beautifully pure voice had us all wondering how many more children could possibly have such stunning ability. We didn’t wonder for long though because a moment later Megan Harley-Martin’s Jennyannydot was so well delivered and she continued to captivate throughout the entire show. Just when we thought the bar couldn’t possibly be raised any higher in numbers of talented children, Freya Collington, who played both Elaine Page and Grizabella, hit notes so perfectly with her strong and melodic voice we were left in no doubt we were now witnessing something very special indeed. Freya’s performance was simply stunning and knowing of her long standing love of musical theatre, how lucky she and all the children must have felt to have had the opportunity to perform to Lord Lloyd-Webber.
And so to Lord Lloyd-Webber onstage the casting of James Duffield in his role was perfect! James played the young Andrew so well and Honor Woollett as his diva choreographer, Gillian Lynne was hysterical teaching her steps to Emily Edgington’s sassy Bonnie Langford. Costumes were Charlotte Little’s incredible job with the wardrobe. What a triumph! The catsuits were painted and decorated by Madame Fortier and each wig was lovingly crafted so kindly by Charlotte. We were all completely fooled into believing a top West End costumier had been hired to dress our little darlings. Added to this we mustn’t forget to mention all the make-up artists. Again, this was not done professionally as you could well have imagined given the standard, but by all the children. I am still amazed by this as it was just fantastic and they all deserve so much praise for their amazing work behind the scenes.
The list goes on of favourites of the evening, Old Deutoronomy played by Harrison Compton-Goddard was completely convincing. All the boys on this incredible cast were a force to be reckoned with as Tom Jones, Wilf Adams and Henry Shipton clearly showed. Henry’s Asparagus in particular was completely enthralling, Wilf gave us the re-appearing Macavity and Tom did an amazing job with his Magical Mr Mistoffelees. Mungojerrie and Rumplteaser were brilliant! This was so cleverly played and expertly sung by Ned Playdell-Bouverie and Tatiana Wiggin, complete with their cockney accents and some very mischievous choreography. Yet again, extraordinary talent on display from these two and it was at this point one started to forget we were watching prep school children.
Special mentions amongst the girls though have to go to Isabelle Christian (Bombalurina) and the extremely talented Tilly Gibbens for her Electra, who introduced Maddie Power’s rascal of a Macavity to us so well. This part of the show was just flawless and their number was certainly one of the contenders for ‘song hummed most the following day’ - a litmus test of excellence in my view!
When asked to write this review I realized I would need to include our own daughter at some point. Should I play it down a bit perhaps? Not good to blow ones own trumpet too much and all that…but no! None of it! She must be sung from the highest rooftops along with everyone else included in this rave review. Yes, I am completely biased but having got towards the end of this review and thought about it for a while, I know I am in very, very strong company of extremely proud parents. So, I feel quite safe to add that Aoife Reid’s Skimbleshanks made Brian and I burst with pride. As we watched our very competent little actress take to the stage as The Railway Cat. We feel incredibly lucky she has been a part of Cheam and all it has offered her. We have watched and listened over these unforgettable few years to the many events produced by Justin and Tim, observing all these children as they have developed their talents and become stronger and stronger. How lucky we all are and I know every other parent and grandparent in the room, teachers, friends and our much loved and hugely respected Mr & Mrs J must have felt the same.
What a show, what a send off, what a great kindness by Lord Lloyd-Webber. Thank you to everyone involved and well done to each and every one of the children, from the chorus to the lighting. It will never be forgotten!
We Will Rock You - (Junior Play 2015)
Looking back, the journey started on a cold and wet February afternoon when my son Tom had flown past me returning from the rugby pitch, caked in mud, beaming and hollered at me “I got it Mummy – I’m going to be Galileo in We Will Rock You”. Now I had always known that Tom could hold a tune but quite how Mr P and the We Will Rock You Team were going to take my son, who was so desperate to hide from the spotlight in the pre-prep Nativity that all we could see of him was his flashing headgear, and turn him into one of the solo singing, spotlight adoring main parts was causing me some concern.
There were to be 7 lead parts in We Will Rock You and they had all been given sizeable roles. Mr Pugsley is renowned for his ambitious projects but this one was off the scale. If he and Mr Bennett and the whole WWRY Team could pull this one off then we were in for a real treat.
Excitement began to spread around the school, auditions continued and more and more children were added to his cast of Queen devotees. The Year 3’s had all morphed overnight into a crazy bunch of head banging Ga Ga Kids. A real mini had been purchased as a prop for the stage. The main parts were all receiving invaluable singing coaching from Miss Coxwell. Mr Bennett was masterfully editing and adapting the score for the children. We even had our very own incredible choreographer, Hayley Pitts. There was talk of more to come: a massive new lighting rig, incredible sound systems, glossy coloured programmes (thanks to Longford Estates) and even pyrotechnics. What lengths they were going to – I half expected to hear that Brian May was taking a day away from saving the badgers to come and play lead guitar alongside our kids!!
In March rehearsals began in earnest. A week with a full schedule of rehearsals involved one every day, often until 8pm. Mr Pugsley, Mr Bennett and the leads even gave up days of their holidays and half terms to rehearse. And yet there was no complaining about this new hectic routine – they were loving every minute of it. Exams and Sports Day came and went and before we knew it we were reading Mr Pugsley’s e-mail on the morning of the first performance.
The evening was warm and slightly muggy, the Chapel was packed to the rafters and the VT started rolling. The children’s beautiful voices were piercing the night air singing “The Show Must Go on” and we were being transported back to the world and music of Queen and Freddie Mercury. I felt sick with fear as the spotlight shone down on Galileo (otherwise known as my son, Tom). He began his first solo, “I want to Break Free”, but I need not have worried. The Cheam Team had worked their magic and he was loving every minute of it. As he clasped his hands over his heart and sang the words, “I’ve fallen in Love”, I suddenly realised we had all fallen in love, not with him but with this incredible show. I knew from that point on that if they could get Tom to do this then they had all nailed it and we were in for a wondrous performance from the whole team and I certainly wasn’t proved wrong.
Soon Tilly burst onto the stage as our amazing female lead, Scaramouche, with her cool, edgy look and rock star voice. She was so perfectly cast. She had had her own battles to get to his point, fighting off a nasty case of tonsillitis a few weeks before but here she was belting it out and doing it with a dose of attitude that you don’t expect to see in an eleven year old. Her rendition of “Somebody to Love” was staggering and her acting and comic timing impeccable. The relationship between the slightly nerdy and confused Galileo and the feisty Scaramouche was so believable, when they sang “Under Pressure” whilst being whizzed around on their hospital trolleys by Bella and Mr Ponder you really could believe that this odd couple were actually falling for each other.
Killer Queen was played by a leather and leopard skin clad Maddie Price. She looked ten feet tall on stage screaming her evil commands to her sidekick Khassoggi, brought to life by Lily Eadie. Maddie had the entire audience in stitches when she misunderstood Khassoggi’s message and flew into a rendition of “Don’t Stop me now” in a frenzied celebration of song and dance. Khassoggi was coolly elegant in her leather power suit and ray bans. She acted her part beautifully, commanding the audience’s attention and strutting around with her red megaphone in hand, striking the fear of God into anyone who got in her way.
We met Meatloaf (Izzy Christian) and Britney Spears (Sam Eadie) scrabbling around in a rubbish dump dreaming about bringing real rock music back to the world. Before long they were punching the air in a fabulous rendition of “I want It All”. Izzy hit the most incredibly powerful top notes and Sam had the whole audience clapping in time with them both and their fabulous singing. They introduce us to the world of the Bohemians and when we meet them all again at the Heartbreak Hotel we were moved by their incredibly poignant rendition of “One By One” in which all the soloists were staggering. The song ended with the spotlight on Izzy and her voice had us all entranced.
Although we had been briefly introduced to Pop the Librarian played by Ned Pleydell-Bouverie at the very start of the show his character came into his own in Act 2. We have become used to seeing Ned act in the last few years, there is a mutual feeling that when Ned is up there doing his thing, it is in a safe pair of hands and he did not disappoint. His total transformation into Pop was impressive and he sung “Too Much love will Kill You” with such control. He was surrounded by a graceful team of ballerinas (Alicia, Olivia, Nancy, Sabrina, Zara & Alexandra) as he sang his lament. The song culminated in Lucy Cleverly fluttering across the stage in a dance of such elegance and beauty – it was a truly enchanting moment.
Whilst this visual treat was coming to life on stage for the audience there was an entire team working away out of sight. For two days in June WWRY fever took over the entire school. A devoted and brilliant army of staff were working away, setting up the stage, mastering the lighting, creating artwork, designing and styling costumes and make up.
This show was not only an aesthetic delight. There were moments of hilarity too. Dan Fearon as Slash, fog-horning random comments at various points in the performance culminated in much raucous laughter from the gallery. Henry Moore, clad in full Spice Girl kit offering his fashion advice and Tim Eiliec as Puff Daddy all had us giggling. The clips from the head of the Globalsoft Corporation looking suspiciously like our very own Mr J and his role in the hysterical spoof version of Bohemian Rhapsody.
Before we had time to catch our breath we were being rushed “Headlong “by way of a crazy motorbike ride into a crescendo of Queen’s greatest hits. The beat of “We Will Rock You” was pounding in our ears one minute followed by “We Are the Champions”. Suddenly Galileo was in the spotlight again and the Year 3’s, who did such a brilliant job with those amazingly choreographed dance routines all night, were being high fived as they marched back onto the stage. By now the atmosphere was electric. The year 4 team, who had flanked all the action, looking so cool with their crazy hair and WWRY T-shirts, were singing their hearts out. The pyrotechnics were exploding, guitars were rocking and the whole stage was lit up in an avalanche of colour and glitter.
I no longer felt any fear for Tom at all as I knew he was in his element as he belted out the familiar words “Mama, just killed a man.....” and the spotlight was on our team singing Bohemian Rhapsody now. They were singing with a confidence well beyond their years and I felt enormously proud of the whole cast and the whole extended team and what that they had all achieved. The evening finished with the entire audience singing Karaoke style to “Don’t Stop Me Now” and as I looked down at Mr J in his shades belting out the words, I began to feel sad for Tom that this whole incredible, ambitious, crazy journey had come to an end.
I am obviously too closely involved to critique my own son’s performance but to say I was proud would be a gross understatement. Our email and texts were littered with messages of congratulations to Tom from dear friends and family. And, finally a word of advice. If any of your children ever get the opportunity to be involved in one of Mr Pugsley’s incredibly exciting and ambitious projects then encourage them to embrace it fully and enjoy every single minute. Parents, do not be afraid - it will be demanding and very hard work but the resulting confidence that your child will gain will be worth its weight in gold.
Lord of the Flies - (Senior Play 2015)
Cheam School’s performance of William Golding’s ground breaking novel Lord of the Flies will resonate in the memory for a long time. In bringing the novel to the stage as his first play at Cheam, Director Charlie Ponder, had set himself a stiff challenge indeed.
The original premise of the novel was that in the midst of a raging war, a plane evacuating a group of schoolboys from Britain is shot down over a deserted tropical island. Two of the boys, Ralph (George Dring) and Piggy (Annabel Hannan), discover a conch shell on the beach, and Piggy realizes it could be used as a horn to summon the other boys. Once assembled, the boys set about electing a leader and devising a way to be rescued. They choose Ralph as their leader, and Ralph appoints another boy, Jack (Aoife Reid), to be in charge of the boys who will hunt food for the entire group. The fact that Mr. Ponder employed a mixed cast of boys and girls for his production added an extra chilling dimension to the story of the children’s decent into savagery.
We are transported to the island with atmospheric lighting and sound effects, vibrant and realistic costuming and a stage set complete with sand – well done the production team. The sense of brooding menace was wonderfully captured by the cast who built a level of almost unbearable tension to the scenes they enacted before us. The cast quickly impressed their characters upon us with slick exchanges of dialogue, the pace of the play being quickly set.
Before long, the choir led by Jack lose their respect for the social norms imbedded by teachers and parents, and violence, torture, and murder break out as the savage instinct replaces the instinct for civilization among the group.
The acting throughout the cast was of such a high caliber that one ceased to see them as individuals one knew but rather you came to believe they were the characters they were “pretending” to be. It was an immense effort and no one element upon the stage for one moment let you forget what you were watching.
The ending of the play is powerful in the extreme, enhanced by the tableau sculptured positioning of the performers on the stage which has been a tremendously effective technique used throughout.
Annabel Hannan’s portrayal of the much bullied Piggy, complete with well sustained accent, drew us into a character fated to be the insightful victim. From George Dring’s faultless performance as Ralph, complete with plastered broken leg (as the Headmaster quipped – some people will sacrifice anything for their art!) to the baying savagery of the choir led by a chillingly dark Aoife Reid complete with facial expressions which totally gripped, not a moment of intensity was lost by any who took to the stage. Throughout the attention to detail both in the staging and acting provided much to appreciate and savour.
Producing a school play is no easy matter and there would have been many imponderables encountered along the way! That a cast so young can come together to deliver such telling performances both individually and collectively is a reflection of both talent and direction. I congratulate all who contributed to this emotionally draining and powerful play. Your efforts would have graced any professional theatre.
What next Mr. Producer? Perhaps the holidays ahead will give you time to ponder!
Wind in the Willows - (Senior Play 2014)
Transported through the rolling Berkshire countryside by rowing boat, horse drawn caravan, car and steam train, and accompanied by animals wild, wise, woody, headstrong and canny – that was the wonderful journey to which those fortunate enough to see the recent production of The Wind In The Willows were treated. The older children led the way, inspiring and encouraging the younger ones to get up there and be the best they could. Amazingly, over 200 people were involved in one way or another.
Brilliantly innovative special effects and projections added realistic and dramatic twists to all scenes. Each scene change was quick, exciting and extraordinarily effective. Fantastic set pieces were produced in the Maintenance and Art departments. Stunningly colourful and inspired costumes and amazing makeup were evident. All provided by so many talented and generous individuals. A musical extravaganza, the story developed swiftly with memorable choreography and many lovely solos, company songs, well-rehearsed soliloquies, quips and hilarious facial expressions.
It was a very cleverly directed production, clearly enjoyed by musicians, actors, technicians and audience alike – you honestly had to remind yourselves you were watching a school production! Led by the inimitable and brilliantly acted Mr Toad, his henchmen and woodland friends and foes, the combination of all the brilliant elements resulted in a delightful feast for the eyes. Two truly memorable and enjoyable evenings provided the children with a fun, unforgettable and enriching team experience. Judging by their ebullient confidence on stage, the hours of learning lines, rehearsals and hard work were so clearly worth it!