As the Summer Term drew to a close, so did our rehearsals for the Junior Play. Although we performed our version of The Government Inspector by Nikolai Gogol only three times at the end of June, this does not tell the whole story of the time, energy and positive work ethic required to polish a production as ambitious as this. Truly, the experience is sure to stick with all cast members as an exhilarating and truly worthwhile time in our Bancroft’s lives.

The older years may be busy with their exams, but this term the lower years (under the guidance of the fabulous Dr Mill) were already well into a steady rehearsal schedule, often camped in the PAC on Sundays. I am still amazed by Dr Mill’s dedication to the project, showing patience as well as authority. Somehow, he managed to do Gogol proud. Play rehearsals require lots of energy, but it was great to watch the play come together, and feel a sense of achievement as it developed. Moreover, the social aspect of joining the Junior Play was brilliant – the many hours spent with fellow members of the cast and working for a common goal strengthened the community spirit of the school.   

It would not be unfair to say that the Junior Play does not always have such high expectations, and I certainly feel that we broke the mould this year. Gogol’s complex, farcical comedy is set in a badly-run town in Russia during the 1830s; the town Mayor (Martha Grimsell) has been informed of the arrival of a Government official inspecting the town, incognito. In a hilarious case of mistaken identity, Khlestakov (Kyrill Yeremenko), a traveller, arrives penniless at the inn of the town, only to be bombarded with queries and requests from the common folk of the village as well as the Mayor himself, to his considerable confusion. Much of the play’s comedy comes from misinterpretations, double entendres and a healthy dose of slapstick, which proved to be successful on all three nights with the audience.

Along with apt period clothing and Dr Mill’s trusty team alongside him (light technician, the DT department and right-hand-man Mr Young), as well as an enthusiastic and talented cast, the Junior Play 2017 was nothing short of a huge success. Thanks again to the staff, and to the audiences, for making our last Junior Play unforgettable!

Siobhan Downey