In the summer term, St Philip House performed in John O’Connor’s adaptation of Geoffrey Chaucer’s classic Canterbury Tales, involving five tales which a large group of travellers tell each other on their pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral, to see the tomb of Saint Thomas Becket.
On March 13th, 14th and 15th the Oratory School Cardinal’s ‘Middle School’ men, performed in Oklahoma!, the classic musical written by composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. Set in Oklahoma Territory in 1906, it told the story of decent cowboy Curly McLain, played with great charm by Max Baker and his romance with farm girl Laurey Williams, elegantly performed by Laura Andreson-Guimaraes; which is threatened by Laurey’s disturbed farmhand, Jud Fry, played with surly malevolence by Joel Easton. A secondary romance concerned the light-headed cowboy Will Parker, played with comic panache by Max Martin and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie, played with comic innocence by Georgia Taylor, who was also wooed by Sam Farlow’s charming, womanising Persian peddler, Ali Hakim. Charles Dart was very amusing as Ado Annie’s gruff, shot gun-wielding father, as was Izzy Carter as the giggling Gertie. Mrs Ryan performed with great authority as Aunt Eller, the kindly matriarch of the county.
The rest of the plot of Oklahoma concerned the struggle between the farmers and the cowmen to become friends and help each other build the brand new state of Oklahoma. The proud, landowning farmers were played by R. Watt, C.Rintoul, O.Clark , D.Bond and G.Stanford-Beale. The more free-spirited cowboys were played by L. Thompson, H. Davis, D. Anderson-Jeffs, M. Tansey, F. Bale and M. Gemmingen. The hearty girls were played by Isabella Farlow, Ellie Lee, Iona Gilchrist, Emma Stegeman and Ellie Brimacombe.
As co-director of this production, the School had the expert assistance of Father Antony, whose detailed eye and sense of period reminded the cast how to move and speak as their characters would have done in 1906 Oklahoma. Mr Burrows directed an exceptional orchestra who weaved a musical spell into this production. His orchestra consisted of C. Beveridge on flute, H.Stanton on clarinet, Father K. McNab on trombone, P. Dempsey on bass guitar, Mr McNamara and Mr.King on percussion and Mr. Howarth on piano..
This show would not have been the entertaining spectacle it was without the wonderful, vibrant choreography of Mrs Farlow. Mrs Stanford-Beale, Mrs Squires and Mrs Farley cemented everything we saw with their outstanding costumes, props and set design, which they worked tirelessly to create the stunning atmosphere for this production.
We were blessed to have such a keen and reliable backstage crew. Gabriel and K. Waite controlled the lush lighting and sound effects, C. Gemmingen expertly managed the front of house as did L.Denziot Elzaburu and C.Claasson with regards to the actors backstage! A big thank you to all that helped both on stage and behind the scenes. A memorable production for all involved.
This parody play of the rise of Hitler was performed by the Oratory School Senior Boys’ Cardinal’s Men in the school theatre from Nov 28th-30th. It was written by Brecht in only three weeks in 1941 after he fled Nazi Germany. His play is consciously a highly satirical allegory of Adolf Hitler, whose rise in the early 1930’s Brecht represented in parallel to that of Arturo Ui, setting his play in a parallel world of 1930’s Chicago gangsters. All the characters and groups in the play have direct counterparts in real life. With some outstanding performances, the play was a huge success. The Jazz music was authentically performed by the school’s musicians, with the lead actor also playing the drums!
The St Philip House boys learnt their extremely difficult parts with ease and flair and much support was offered by parents of the Drama Society and the Music Department. The Director of Drama, Oliver Godfrey said that It has been a pleasure working with so many people on Shakespeare’s classic comedy, which was pulled off to marvellous effect.
With the book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story was inspired by William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, and is set in the Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid-1950s, exploring the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.This was the first play performed by the Sixth Form, together with girls from Queen Anne’s, using the the new Oratory School theatre. Named after Old Oratorian Hilare Belloc, the theatre had only recently been opened by another Old Oratorian, Lord Berkeley of Knighton. Great singing and dancing from all the cast, with support from parents who helped with the make-up, costume and set design. Choreography was by Clare Farlow and musical arrangements by the Director of Music, Julian McNamara and school musicians.