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Audience in Stitches at Successful School Production

Saturday 30 November saw the last night of the Senior School Production,  Accidental Death of An Anarchist. It was the culmination of a term’s late evening rehearsals, the students emerging from their daily Prep to prepare for a very complex play. Needless to say the result was worth all the hard work. Saturday night was the best night of the 3 night run, not a prompt in sight, the audience laughing raucously throughout. The second half started somewhat prematurely, neither Oli Davies-Byron nor Camillo in the tech box were ready for the actors striding out on stage. Then came, what will now be dubbed as ‘eye-patch gate’. Harry needing to find his eye patch, failed as Oliver Wilkins had sat on it. Hearing his cue he strode onto stage with a tie wrapped around his head. He then proceeded to carry on, holding the tie and struggling with his wooden hand. He asked Henry Watson to tie it tighter, but he only managed to tie it across both eyes, causing both the audience and actors to laugh. Dilan eventually discovered the eye patch and through the stealthy work of the backstage team of Tolu and Ryan, the eye patch found its way to the stage and the performance could carry on. Now normally coming out of character or ‘corpsing’ would be seen as a disaster in the theatre, but in this instance, the cast had created such a complicity with the audience, that we were all in the shared joke and it didn’t matter. This is the pinnacle of a comic performance.

Elena Bromidge returned from Langtree school to play the part of Feletti, the only woman’s part in the play and only on stage for the last 20 minutes or so of the action. It takes great confidence and passion to be as dedicated as she was, waiting patiently before making her positive impact at the climax of the play.

Henry Watson came into the production later on, replacing someone who had to drop out. I had full faith in Henry as a Drama scholar and knew he would pull his socks up (but not his trousers) and be excellent in his role.

This was James Wise’s first production at the school, and it showed the complexity of the text when during a scene when his character was supposed to be acting confused, he was genuinely confused himself. Again it is hard for a character who is at the book ends of the play to integrate themselves in every rehearsal, but James did very well in this regard, particularly in the final week.

There is something about being on stage, under the lights that brings out the best in Mojola Ayanbadejo and this year’s production was another example of this. He was even able to bring to the performance some of his personal traits used for great comedic effect: his fall through the window being a highlight of many.

Diggory once again proved his acting pedigree and was truly a leader in the cast. He even managed to sneak in his love for American Football in one of the funniest moments in the play, his peers clearly enjoying how much he was revelling at the moment.

It is usually not good form singling out an individual but in this case the play would not have been as good without the absolutely stellar performance from Harry Hiscox. Playing the role of the Maniac, a part that was originally played by the author Dario Fo himself, he gave a masterclass in line learning, characterisation and improvisation. The aforementioned story about the eye patch being the perfect example of how he at times completely carried the performance.

I feel very privileged to be in my position to see the students at their very best and to watch them excel and I would encourage everyone, staff, students and parents to get involved in co-curricular Drama for those that missed it this year, truly missed out.

 

Mr Jonathan Bonnett

Head of Drama