With circus props and costumes aplenty, it would be easy to think that this year’s School production was a version of The Greatest Showman.  However, what greeted the audiences over seven(!) performances was a lively version of Shakespeare’s ever-popular comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  And what a triumph it was! Combining songs, dances,circus skills and an inventive open-air setting, it really was an absolute treat.  

From the opening scene I was blown away by the strength of the performances. Grace Muir brought a sense of authority to the role of Theseus, together with Tilly Schwerdt as the long-suffering Hippolyta, but Lily Moss stole the opening scene as the vexatious Egeus, bringing both anger and humour to the action. The fact she then played Peaseblossom and had to sing showed incredibly maturity for a Year 7 pupil.  

Just when I thought things could not get better, in came the arguing lovers played by Bronwen Rogers, Georgina Johns, Ralph Bartram and Sam Milner-Smith. They argued, wooed and performed as if their lives depended on it. In Georgina’s case, that was particularly true as she played Hermia with her father’s threat of death hanging over her. Again, she brought an amazing maturity to the role. Ralph’s performance as Demetrius highlighted what a rather unpleasant character he is and you wonder why Bronwen’s Helena is so besotted with him! 

Of course, for many people, A Midsummer Night’s Dream  is all about the fairies. Henry Williams, as Oberon, demonstrated both command and anger and he was aided in his troublemaking by Charlie Loudoun as the mischievous Puck. Niamh Crinion as Titania showed tremendous authority as she stood up for herself against Oberon’s bullying. Both Oberon and Titania were accompanied by troupes of fairies, Oberon’s tumbling, stumbling troupe being particularly effective. 

Of course, there is also the group of ‘rude mechanicals’. Rebecca Shepherd was a particularly effective Quince, trying to organise her motley crew although she was exasperated by Dylan Collier’s Bottom and Tillie Humphris grumpy Flute. Dylan’s transformation into an ass was very entertaining and totally believable. When the troupe finally were able to perform their play of Pyramus and Thisbe, Tancho Limbu as Snout, portraying the Wall, had the audience in stitches. 

They even managed to bring in a song from The Greatest Showman  as part of the fairies’ dance, which seemed completely apt as it brought together the text, costumes and setting with Henry’s Oberon as a spirited ‘ringmaster’.  

On a warm summer’s evening, I can think of few better ways of spending an hour. This really was a magical production. Congratulations should go to all the cast, together with the creative team, Mrs Johnson and Mr Kemp for bringing it together so successfully. 

Mr Robertson, Teacher of English, 12/13JAR Ken House Tutor 

Thank you to Jon @ David Wiltshire for the fantastic Flickr images and Yellow Balloon for film highlights