House Drama 2016: An Overview
House drama is the one time of the year when teachers can’t control everything you do and, naturally, when students can actually have fun.
First up was North, the winning House and, (although there is bias here), the best House. Best Male Actor, Louis Japaul, made sure that even the back row got to enjoy the show. With Caleb playing the part of baby Jesus, there wasn’t much more North could do to stray away from the original story. North House also won Best Ensemble, mainly down to the excellent performance of the three trees, around which a topic of debate has arisen as to whether they were instructed to be confused when the curtains closed or whether their confusion was unplanned. Needless to say, the North House ensemble was just as strong on the stage as behind it. Famous for their family spirit and astoundingly quick integration of thirds, the North Sixth Form were just as theatrical behind the scenes. Having been appointed to do makeup, it was entertaining watching Hannah French and Raya Uzunova draw chest hair on Hisham Jouhary, something I wish I could have photographed for you all to see. However, it was not nearly as entertaining as watching them draw on the sheep faces; in ten minutes, the girls pulled off the ‘perfection’ that north always strives for. Overall, having watched North’s performance on stage and behind the curtains I can’t help but feel that they truly deserved to win.
School broke the mould cast by the other three houses by doing a serious drama; with underlying themes of religion and sacrifice, it was refreshing to see a performance that made the audience think. Although the audience was more quiet and thoughtful, there definitely wasn’t a lack of laughs; Josie Grimsell, Best Newcomer, and rightly so, effectively portrayed the attitude of every 16-year-old in trouble ever. Her performance also showed she was wise beyond her years, showing us two sides to a very vulnerable character, making us feel sympathy for someone who was a ‘wrong doer’. The play was nothing short of entertaining and made sure that a simple set and lack of scene changes, set in prison, kept the crowds from becoming rowdy and distracted during scene changes. A good use of soft and hard focus meant that the audience was never bored and the main characters weren’t made to feel too much pressure. The plot ensured that we didn’t feel depressed by the story of Matthew Davie’s character but felt that he had had justice. Despite the late-addition to the play, Ben Hughes, who stepped in for Eleanor Channer, less than 24 hours before the finals, they still managed to pull off a thought-provoking play that stood up against the comedies.
East definitely put on a show, but what was to be expected when you put Tom Dean as Romeo and Rhys Phillips, Best Supporting Actor, as Juliet? Although not as convincing in their portrayal of their undying love for each other, they were nothing short of absolutely hilarious. The main trio of directors also held our attention; Daffodil Dhayaa had an absolutely astonishing Scottish accent and Alex Sampio-Cook’s constant state of confusion portrayed exactly how it felt to be in the middle of a maths lesson. Having read and watched all of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays, I can vouch that there is nothing as entertaining or easy to understand as the performance put on by East House, and how could it be anything but with three extremely ‘helpful’ narrators to guide us along our journey and a hilarious ensemble? There wasn’t anything more that the audience could want, but out of both ‘plays-that-go-wrong’, North just managed to pull ahead.
West performed a play that would make it easy for anyone who has ever felt desperate or been at a dead end to connect to. They deservingly won Best Design, because of their realistic decaying sign ‘Little Grimsley’, and simple set which the tight ensemble harnessed. Although a less slapstick comedy, and a more subtle but original comic drama, Best Supporting Actress Gauri Godbole played such a sweet and naïve, character, creating lots of laughs through her interactions with Luke Oliver, who despite always trying her best managed to always screw things up - something else we could all relate to. An astonishing performance by Emilia Hitching, not only landed her Best Actress, but also made everyone sympathise with her character’s situation, which was one of the highlights of the play, much like the much anticipated scooter routine/dance and the surprise entrance of Mathew Roberts on a scooter and in a beautiful pink helmet. West had an awesome balance of humour and realism, pulled together by the leading Kyrill Yeremenko who performed amazingly despite a broken limb, and managed to captivate the audience throughout the whole performance, which was the quite the challenge considering the length of the play.
Overall, 2016 was an amazing year for Bancroft’s House Drama which showcased a wide variety of talent. As always, it was amazing seeing people who were not normally artistic or in main school productions, come together to put in the extra hours for their house and ultimately their school.