Shrewsbury School

The School House & Mary Sidney Hall Play: 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (aged 13¾)'

Tuesday 6 March 2012

An anonymous review, with photos by Harry Bozman

Last Friday and Saturday night saw the performance of what has been heralded by a member of the 5th form as ‘the best house play ever’. Indeed, a visiting speaker and esteemed member of the clergy praised this spectacle as one ‘worthy of a school play’, rather than one on the humble scale of house plays.

The ladies of Mary Sidney and the gentlemen of School House entertained us with a visual feast of comedy, charisma and creativity. The play conveyed the familiar vicissitudes of male adolescence; an apt choice in a school where many are experiencing this bewildering stage. Sam Watts delivered a compelling portrayal of the ‘tormented intellectual’, Adrian Mole, captivating the audience as he led us through the highs and lows of pubescent life. His mother and father (Christie Knight and James Humpish) played their parts to slick perfection, evoking at times humour and at others pathos as they presented the hard hitting realities of married life. Mr Lucas, Mrs Mole’s lover, was played by Tom Fletcher-Wilson; for a man about site renowned for his aptitude in the art of romance this part was not too stretching. Yet, he still delivered a sterling performance, wooing the audience along with Mrs Mole. Max Farmilloe gave an hilarious, yet touching rendition of Bert Baxter, the cantankerous old age pensioner with whom Adrian forms a bond, voicing controversial opinions on cigarettes, socialism and retirement homes much to the audience’s amusement. Meanwhile, Cecily Higham gave an almost too-convincing portrayal of Pandora, Adrian’s love-interest, with a certain member of the history faculty audibly commenting that she had been so appropriately cast that there was hardly any need of acting in this role. Nigel, played by Harry Al Adwani, was an equally entertaining role, as the struggle of a fourteen-year-old weekend-punk was depicted brilliantly, whilst forming a comical juxtaposition with the poetry-writing protagonist. Perhaps the pinnacle of humour was achieved in Jack Calvert’s cameo appearance as Mr Scruton, the Führer-esque headmaster of Adrian’s school, by which he reduced us all to hysterical laughter.

Congratulations must go to Mr Bell, who patiently directed the play with his comic wisdom. Thanks must also go to Mrs Hankin and Miss Burge, who choreographed a wonderful dance routine as well as played a vital part in the masterminding of the whole event. Backstage, the team responsible for lighting, props and the set also deserve commendation as they ensured that the delivery of this play was nothing short of a polished and professional performance.

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