3 December 2018
On the 29th November 2018 the A Level Drama students travelled to London to watch two productions in a day. We started off at the Brompton Oratory to begin the day with a prayer before we walked up the road to the V&A to view the Theatre and Performance exhibition. This is a collection of various memorabilia from the archives of performances and most importantly gave the students an insight into different costume and set designs for a variety of productions, something that will come in handy for their written examination.
After refuelling at lunch we then proceeded to the first show of the day – Company a revival of a 1970s musical by Stephen Sondheim. Brought to stage by popular director Marianne Elliott and her usual team of designers – including Bunny Christie, it starred Rosalie Craig, Patti Lupone and Mel Geidroyc, but for us the biggest draw was Old Oratorian, Jonathan Bailey who played Jamie. The production did not disappoint, the direction was superb, the design extremely clever and Craig, Lupone and Geidroyc gave excellent performances, but without any sense of bias, the standout performance was Bailey as Jamie, in particular his solo song where he had cold feet before his wedding that involved all of the other characters coming from secret doors in his kitchen set. Having made contact with him before they show, he invited us backstage after the performance where we had pictures and a chat with him on a West End stage, which was surprisingly small. I was a little star struck and we were all pleased to hear that he was a Norris boy – back before the new building. We hope he will come up one day and visit to see how the school has changed.
Buoyed by our brush with the stars we headed to a steak restaurant and shared a thoroughly enjoyable meal, though slightly alarming that only two of us had any vegetables and Linus kept on wanting things off menu, and in a restaurant where there was essentially two things on the menu, this did baffle us all (and who wants mustard on steak?)
Our evening performance was to see a performance of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a set text on the written examination. Also directed by Marianne Elliott and using a similar design team, it was great to see the similarities between the two productions, mainly minimalism and LEDs. I have personally seen this production 3 or 4 times and each time it is one of the best pieces of theatre you could part with your hard earned cash for in London. We left with a number of ideas to use in our own work and although we got back to school after midnight it was worth every hour.
Jonathan Bonnett | Head of Drama