King Edward VII School Dramatic Society

MIDDLE SCHOOL PLAYS

THE SECOND AND THIRD FORMS
PRESENT
"The Boy with a Cart"
BY
CHRISTOPHER FRY

***

CAST . . . in order of appearance:

PEOPLE OF SOUTH ENGLAND

MARTIN WILSON, MALCOLM PETER, ANDREW FLETCHER,
IAN SARGINSON, MICHAEL STORR

CUTHMAN

GRAHAM SIDDALL

BESS

PETER THOMAS

MILDRED

MICHAEL COLLEY

MATT

DAVID SHORT

TIBB

IAN ANDERSON

NEIGHBOUR

MARTIN BRYARS

CUTHMAN'S MOTHER

DEWI JONES

MOWERS

CHRISTOPHER TIERNEY, SCOTT HOUSLEY,
ANTHONY VAUGHAN, RICHARD GREGORY

TAWM

WILLIAM AMOS

TAWM'S SON-IN-LAW

SCOTT HOUSLEY

TAWM'S DAUGHTER

CHRISTOPHER TIERNEY

A FARMER

GERALD METTAM

MRS. PHIPPS

ANDREW LUCAS

ALFRED

ANTHONY VAUGHAN

DEMIWULF

RICHARD GREGORY

***

The Play takes place in the South of England during Anglo-Saxon times.

***

PRODUCED BY MR. K. BRIDGWATER

(Programme courtesy of David Cook)

 

KES Magazine, January 1960:

Middle School Plays

THE first thing is to applaud the choice of plays. Twelve months ago we were little more than entertained; this year, The Boy with a Cart, produced by Mr. Bridgwater, and Androcles and the Lion, Mr. Chalmers producing, provided a nicely contrasted, ambitious bill, which some schools would have been glad to attempt as their main dramatic offering of the year.

It would be easy to be patronising about The Boy with a Cart; a difficult play was attempted here which certainly justified itself on one of the performances. The main and obvious weakness was the inability of Cuthman to speak, or even to appear to understand, his verse. Siddall captured some of the vigour of the young saint, but he never convincingly portrayed his spiritual qualities, and his irritating diction showed that he has much to learn about dramatic speaking. Others were not blameless in this; indeed Fry's line "I'm always lagging a little behind your thoughts" assumed new meaning for at least one member of the audience; but Sarginson and Wilson brought dignity and life to some of the choruses.

The most notable performance came from D. D. Jones as Cuthman's mother, whose gestures, timing, and clarity built up a convincing character, and revealed a talent which should be very valuable in future productions. Amos gave a mature, even mellow rendering as Tawm, providing welcome variety in the vocal range, as did Lucas, whose Mrs. Fipps added a burst of vigour to a rather static play. No set was needed for the simple production, but by pleasing grouping, with effective costumes and properties, significant atmosphere was achieved.

Androcles and the Lion is a play of lucidity, genuine humour, and interesting ideas, with a typically Shavian mixture of the comic and the serious. The performance opened triumphantly with Grimsditch and Mingay losing no opportunity in an admirably produced prologue. Androcles here, and throughout the play, contributed a most sympathetic performance, with an intelligent mixture of pathos and brightness; Grimsditch is to be congratulated. Mingay, adding to his range, revealed an impressive potential gift for comedy. Another praiseworthy contribution came from Hall as Ferrovius. His zealous determination and energy exploited the comic possibilities of the part without ever sacrificing the audience's sympathy for his sincerity. In contrast to Ferrovius is the character of Spintho, and here Gunn, if less in control of his part than Hall, nevertheless aroused the right measure of contempt and pity in the audience.

To claim that these characters overshadowed Lavinia and the Captain is only to say that Jowett and Argent had more difficult parts, and that it is a weakness of the play rather than of the production that we were conscious of static moments between these two. Jowett's weakness is a certain monotony of voice, but he looked admirably patrician, and did well in the part, and Argent made an agreeably resolute and reasonable soldier. Whyman is to be commended for his interpretation of the various sides of Caesar's character, another performance which was all the better for being intelligently controlled. We shall also remember Barrow's harassed Centurion, Struthers' magnificent Lion, and an enthusiastic though rather unequally clad) band of soldiers, the gladiators and the Christians, all of whom contributed to a most entertaining production.

The two plays, both religious, yet so different, made a very successful evening: thanks are due to all concerned in their production. A plea might finally be added for backstage discipline in future. Less experienced actors should remember their obligations to their audience when off stage. There was, on both evenings, an audible ebullience in the wings and down the corridor.

P. D. C. P., D. E. R.