Success at the Fringe
The Head of Drama, Annabel Hooper, was thrilled to take a group of her Warminster pupils to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last month. The Upper 6th pupils performed an extended version of their A2 practical exam piece, The Canterbury Crawl. This was an imaginative and mischievous adaptation of three of Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous Canterbury Tales. Our pupils were in Edinburgh for eight days. During that time they had to work hard each day, promoting their show by giving mini performances in the streets of Edinburgh.
Despite the multitude of competing shows on offer, the audience numbers for The Canterbury Crawl were exceptional and included a sell out on the last night. The six boys – Ben Ecclestone, Tom Jaggs, Jack Osborne, Oliver Pitts, Matthew Stone and Blake Scammell – styled themselves The Lord Weymouth Players and performed over six nights at a central venue on the Royal Mile. Warminster is immensely proud that this show – devised, planned and performed by the boys themselves – was given a four star review in the Theatre Guide London. We cannot resist quoting Gerald Berkowitz's review in full below.
A half-dozen guys on a pub crawl decide to fill the travelling time with stories, and suddenly we're in a twenty-first century version of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. With a lot of inventiveness – no director is credited, but as these are sixth-form students at Warminster School, we can intuit the hands of both English and Drama teachers – they present truncated and appropriately mangled versions of the Knight's, Pardoner's and Wife of Bath's Tales. The guys are personable, the direction is tight and polished, the physical theatre elements (i.e. a lot of mugging and pratfalls) are funny, and the clash of modern sensibilities and old tales, while it occasionally grates (Go easy on the attempts at rhymed couplets, English teacher), just as often produces surprise bits of whimsy and comedy. It runs out of steam and coherence toward the end, but then so does Chaucer. Who knows – the students may even have learned something from the exercise, and certainly audiences get an hour of good dirty fun.