Trips and other news

We’re off to Liverpool tomorrow (Wednesday 30 October, 2013) to see Blood Brothers. Thanks to Miss McCulloch for making all the arrangements.

Blood Brothers Tickets at Liverpool Empire,

Maureen Nolan, member of the famous sister group The Nolans, is to return in the coveted lead role of Mrs Johnstone, reprising a role she performed both on tour and at The Phoenix Theatre in the West End. The Narrator will be played by Warwick Evans who originated this role in Bill Kenwright’s first production of Blood Brothers.

Blood Brothers tells the captivating and moving story of twin boys separated at birth, only to be reunited, by a twist of fate and a mother’s haunting secret. The memorable score includes A Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and the emotionally charged hit Tell Me It’s Not True.

When Mrs Johnstone, a young mother, is deserted by her husband and left to her own devices to provide for seven hungry children she takes a job as a housekeeper in order to make ends meet.

It is not long before her brittle world crashes around her when she discovers herself to be pregnant yet again – this time with twins. In a moment of weakness and desperation, she enters a secret pact with her employer which leads inexorably to the show’s shattering climax.

Blood Brothers is directed by Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright with designs by Andy Walmsley. Mark Howett is the lighting designer; Ben Harrison is the sound designer. Rod Edwards is the musical supervisor and Kelvin Towse is the production musical director.

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Macbeth at the Buccleuch Centre, Langholm – Tuesday 22 Nov (leaving the school at 6pm). Details from Ms Brown.

http://www.buccleuchcentre.com/event_detail.asp?PerformanceID=764

Journey’s End – Glasgow (Wed 7 September)

The photograph above shows Marti Pellow as Dr Jekyll before his transformation into the evil Mr Hyde.

I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the King’s Theatre in Glasgow on Thursday 16 June. Thanks to Mr Kerr again for taking for orgainsing the tickets and driving us there and back.

Children in Need – The Gunging

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmj22/sets/72157625334982617/show/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmj22/5204078399/

Extra-curricular activities

LIBRARY MAGAZINE GROUP and the LIBRARY CLUB: Wednesday lunchtime – the library

Trips                    

Wednesday 10th March 2011 – King Lear

King Lear

Thursday 18 November 2010 – Carrie’s War

‘Carrie’s War’

Wednesday 17 November 2010 – Blood Brothers

‘Blood Brothers’ starring Mel C

Wednesday 3 November 2010 – The Importance of Being Earmest – Lyceum, Edinburgh

‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ – Act I – Algernon and Jack

Reviews

The Importance of Being Earnest

The fun and humour of the play was captured brilliantly and even the minor adaptations added to the sense of silliness.

The beautiful sets and interesting costumes gave life to the characters although Lady Bracknell’s dress and hat simply changed colour every time she came on stage.

The actors were incredible. From the witty servant to the intimidating Lady Bracknell, the cast showed the lack of substance in all the characters. Algernon’s facial expressions were very funny, as were Lane’s, which was interesting because the other adaptations I have seen only had a straight-faced butler whereas this one shares his opinion with the audience through his expressions. I thought the character, Cecily, was too immature, child-like and dimwitted and a few of her funnier lines didn’t make enough impact because of this. Also, Miss Prism’s accent was a bit annoying.

Every other aspect of the play was great. I especially liked Dr Chasuble’s performance as he was emphatic and comical.

I found the change of scene between Act One and Two hilarious. Lane changing to Merriman by just changing suits gave the impression that the servants are not of great importance to their employers: to them they are just a servant. However it was very funny.

It was a superb play and the best adaptation of it I have seen. I would definitely recommend it.

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On Wednesday 3 November, the other Advanced Higher pupils, a few teachers from various departments in the school and I travelled to the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh to watch a production of The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.

The first act which opens with Algernon’s home and introduces us to the characters Jack, Algernon, Gwendolen, Lady Bracknell and Lane, the butler, had a simple but very effective set consisting of two chairs, a chaise longue and a piano, all of which were used very well by the characters Algernon and Jack who continuously moved between them whilst delivering their lines.

Algernon and Jack’s outfits were very plain as they both wore light brown suits, which contrasts with how we are used to seeing them, especially Algernon, as we are used to seeing them in fancy suits with frills and various colours. The outfits worn by Gwendolen and Lady Bracknell were also plainer than we are used to seeing with Gwendolen being in a simple off-silver dress with suit jacket and Lady Bracknell wearing a purple dress with feathers and an absurd hat – which we would expect her to wear.

The characters themselves were very good in this scene with Jack keeping the seriousness you expect and Algernon playing the ‘dandy’ character very well with his use of facial expressions. Gwendolen very much reflected what was expected of her as a character with her natural classiness, which the actress managed to portray very well. Lady Bracknell, although played well, in comparison to other versions of the play we have seen, was not the best, as she was quite subtle and didn’t bring any originality to the character.

In Act 2 we are introduced to the characters of Cecily, Miss Prism and Canon Chasuble.  The set was an outdoor scene, which was very effective. I especially liked the pink rose bush. Cecily and Miss Prism were both annoying characters as Cecily was played to be really pathetic and that was irritating, and Miss Prism had the most annoying accent possibly ever. Chasuble, however, was played the best I have ever seen, as he was very funny. However, the best character in the scene was, without doubt, the butler who, despite having very few lines, very wittily made the most of the character and kept the audience entertained.

Overall the play was a very good experience. The use of music throughout and the atmosphere of the audience really added to the play and resulted in a very good night at a very funny play.

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I found it very interesting to see a different interpretation of the play. It was extremely funny showing how it is possible for something to be written over a hundred years ago and not have lost its humour.

The actors were superb, not only in the delivery of the lines but also their expressions especially those actors who played the butlers and Algernon. Lady Bracknell was also played very well, different to how I imagined, however still very well.

They had Spanish music, which cut in at scenes of emotion. The actors dancing to the music was an interesting addition.

The Lyceum is not particularly large which was, in my opinion, good as it made me feel more involved when the actors went into their monologues as it felt like they were speaking to the audience rather than merely voicing their thoughts.

I found the change from Act 1 to Act 2 quite funny and clever in using the same actor to play both butlers as it showed how fundamentally they were exactly the same. However, it is appearance that counts, according to Oscar Wilde.

Overall it was a great performance, one that I would gladly see again.

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The adaptation toyed with the script a little, adding and missing bits, but generally remained faithful to the original … preserving Wilde’s wit.

A favourite part of mine was the scene change between Acts 1 and 2, where the butler had a costume change on stage – in a comic fashion, of course – to represent the change of setting from Algernon’s city home to Jack’s in Hampshire. This changeover was accompanied by Spanish music, which generally appeared at moments of apparent tension in the play, and allowed a little more creative interpretation than the original text may have.

I especially liked the portrayal of Lady Bracknell in the typical style of the oldest, most experienced, and to an extent, wittiest character on the stage. Cecily and Gwendolen amused and irritated me in equal measure but played the similarities between them very well, and you could indeed begin to imagine Gwendolen turning into her mother and Cecily into Gwendolen. The exchange in Act 2 (part 2) was well done, but I was disappointed at the absence of Cecily’s witty rejoinder: ‘Flowers are as common in the country as people are in the city.’

In addition to this, I thought the dynamic between Algernon and Jack was wonderful as well as the characters themselves. Any small fumbles (such as that with the tray and cigarette case in Act 1) were quickly saved.

As for Miss Prism, regardless of what everyone else thinks, I thought her portrayal (and accent) made her a more interesting character than I usually find her to be.

One thing I was more disappointed in was the outfits of several of the characters. The simpler outfits of Jack, Cecily and Miss Prism were good enough, but I felt that the city dwellers (Algernon, Lady Bracknell and Gwendolen) were either underdressed or ridiculously dressed. I expected a more lavish ensemble from Algy – the real ‘dandy’ of the play. The colour, style and attention to detail that I expected were not to be found. In contrast, Gwendolen’s outfits were overly so, with block colour and dress styles that surely weren’t in vogue in the late 19th Century, as well as ridiculous ‘cloche’ hats and shoes that matched no part of her outfit whatsoever. My appraisal     of Lady Bracknell’s wardrobe should not be quite so scathing, but I was expecting a less modernistic outfit, gowns and hats that would have been worn at the time – not to fancy dress parties now.

In spite of these wardrobe malfunctions, I did enjoy the performance! 

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/lyceumtheatre/sets/72157625246839380/show/

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