House Drama Competition

19th October 2016

For the second year running, Mr A. Gillan and I recently had the privilege of judging the annual House Drama competition. Having been extremely impressed with the raising of standards last year from when I had previously judged it, this year, the levels rose again giving us a wonderfully difficult time! But… what a brilliant way to spend a working morning, being as hugely entertained as we both were.

This year’s theme was the intriguing (to a librarian) “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover” and the four interpretations were so different it proved to be a well-chosen one.

MS’s “Mission Implausible” began the day and set a high benchmark, particularly in their high-energy opening scene; not bad at 9am! As soon as we were given the arresting programme; a good mix of a simple but stylish design, fun humour, and fully informative easily read text, we guessed we were in for a treat. The central character of the librarian might have been seen as bribery…but I was pleased to see one portrayed with some get-up and go, and not, as so often, a fey old dear in tweed… The script was original, full of humour and fast-paced. There were nods to all sorts of dramatic conventions including an excellent slow-motion fight-scene, and a traditional panto idea later on. The acting was strong throughout and all were contenders for best actor awards. We were quickly lulled into thinking that the day could only go downhill from here.

BUT… RP’s “Baffling Case of the Stolen Ice-Cream” had so much going for it too. The ingeniously created ice-cream cornet-shaped programme gave us all the information we needed, and we thoroughly enjoyed the tale of unlikely super-heroes and villains. It was just a shame that the performance was so short; it would have been lovely to see a development of the characters and ideas, and we particularly wanted to see more of Peter Clapham and Christina Raye as one set of parents. Again there was a good range of dramatic conventions used, and the mix-up over narrators, breaking the fourth wall, and the idea of the TV and tree were well-handled.

And then we had TS’s “Ginger the Musical”… Although there was probably not enough music to justify the title, this was a well-paced, slick production with a more serious underlying message about judging people by their hair-colour etc… but one that was delivered with style and humour. We could not fault the central character, a celebrity with a guilty secret, played brilliantly by Luke Payne, and there were fine performances from others, including junior actors Rowan Taylor, Bobby Pearse and a hard-to-recognise Joe Eldred. There were some well-sustained moments of freeze-action, and our only disappointment was in not being able to understand the opening sequence/lines.

The final performance belonged to KH’s “The Teacher, the Class and the Dictionary”. The backstage team had really gone to town, preparing a wealth of props and a wonderful book-shaped programme that included a section with definition scrolls inside. They had thought through the costumes too, with letters on shirts etc. The sound effects were involved and effective and we felt that possibly more time had been given to the “look” of the piece than the acting. There were some good performances, and we were particularly taken with Jack Michaelides. The plot/script just needed more of an overall arc to work really well.

After much deliberation, the awards went to…

Best Programme                              MS

Best Backstage                                  KH

Best Supporting Junior Actor      Chelsea Edwards MS

Best Supporting Senior Actor      Peter Clapham RP

Best Junior Actor                              Griff Calnan RP

Best Senior Actor                             Luke Payne TS

Best Script                                           Mission Implausible MS

Best Director                                      Alex Neville and Mel Karczewski  TS

Overall                                                  1. MS     2. TS       3. RP      4. KH

Congratulations to all who took part, on and off stage… I look forward to next year,

Mrs L Myhill


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