A Bouquet of Delights: Poetry and Prose 2019

The weather was kind and the marquee looked splendid as parents, relatives, friends and staff set out their picnics for our annual literary celebration.

It was a packed schedule and very difficult to mention every single performer, but I would like to thank all of those who were brave enough to step out of their comfort zones and take part. It is a daunting prospect, but the P and P audience, as they are affectionately known, are the most wonderful and supportive of audiences.

It was Pupil Take-Over Day so Jamie Holmes ensured Rory Stocks was given a very public dressing down, during Act 1,  for his absences during maths and the cross country. Alfie Dackcombe opened Act 2 in a similar vein, with his Monty Python inspired list of instructions as to where we should hang our clothes before the weekend, having checked with Matron, completed prep and before the next exeat.  I do hope all staff and pupils were clear about what they had to do!

It was wonderful to welcome new faces to the stage and for two of the pupils to share their own, and at times, very personal writing. Lottie Humphris’ 500 words winning story about a pig disguising himself as a school inspector, was  a delight. Ollie Gairdner Burrough’s poem, Dear Society, was incredible. What a talent and so many people have told me how honoured they were that Ollie had shared this very personal poem with them and how impressed they were with the use of language. Vincent Chan too, bravely recited a poem about being far away from home in a different land, and Alexandra Sarban continues to amaze, with a poem performed in Russian. I think Alex speaks 4, if not 5, languages!

We had many laughs with Lily Aldridge brilliantly reading a Victoria Wood sketch and in a fabulous Lancashire accent too! Maddie Stocks also evoked another great British female comedian, by performing one of Joyce Grenfell’s hilarious monologues, about the perils of supervising young children during free activity hour! Mr Robertson harked back to a golden age of comedy with his rousing rendition of Flanders and Swan’s, A Transport of Delights. Comedy rounded off the night with Ellie Harris, India Morgan Nash and Naomi Watson roasting several pupils for their appalling recent answers in exams. Archie Maclaren and Rachael Shepherd’s slapstick as Cinderella’s ugly sisters, complete with make-up and tutus, completed the fun in Act 1.

The Prep pupils, under the guidance of Mrs Glenny, were outstanding. We heard from Rebecca Shepherd, Amelie Mortimer, Kathryn Browne, Ebba Palma, Kate Mills, Katherine Mangiarcina, Bronwen Rogers and Phoebe Symonds. All of whom were consummate professionals and even tackled Shakespeare with confidence and aplomb.

More Shakespeare was undertaken by Dylan Collier, Sam Evans and Callum Southall, who were very impressive and their piece from the Tempest set the bar high. Year 7 pupils who also performed for the first time included; Charlie Loudon, Niamh Crinion, Millie Watts, Jessica Saunders and Ellie Gurung. We were all so impressed with their talent and confidence.

Comedy of a more subtle kind was provided by Maddie Dempsey and Tilly Street, who were icily amusing as Cecily and Gwendoline from Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest; the accents were spot-on too!

Max Curnock, Honor Petitt and Paige Allgrove gave incredible performances in their solo pieces. All three of them were outstanding and Paige had the energy to close the show, along with other members of the Mary Poppins cast, which will be on stage in mid-June.

Evie Kennett, Mira Pedersen Kjølner and Lexie Drake all brought a calmer, more reflective tone with their thoughtful readings. Thea Knight and Olivia Wallis showed us how to see things from a different perspective and be more positive about ourselves and far less critical.  Good advice.

My thanks to the following pupils for all their help too: Jack Mercer, Oscar Waite, Will Barnes, Charlie Whelan, Lottie Humphris, Jamie Baker and of course, my fellow host, Freya Smye.

Mrs Parrack