Eccles Grammar School
THE SCHOOL PLAY
This year's experiment of three one-act plays was not entirely successful. Admittedly, opportunities were given for the members of the lower school to act, for a contrast of material within the programme and for entertainment to be provided for all age-groups. However, the continuity of the evening was destroyed by introduction of different subjects and I should welcome a return to the former presentation of a single several-act play.
"The Monkey's Paw' by W. W. Jacobs. Dramatic with occasional touches of humour. Little fault to be found either with the production or acting. Jennifer Cooke and Barry Jones were particularly good.
"Toad of Toad Hall" by A. A. Milne provided entertainment for the younger members of the audience. Promising performances from Lilian Brockbank, Judith Lockett, Gaynor Powell and Philip Jones. There was a tendency for the actors to speak too quietly, and the muffling of their voices was increased by the otherwise excellent animal heads.
"The Ass and the Philosophers" by G. Jones. Undoubtedly the best play because of the experience of the actors and the strength of the plot. Good performances from all the cast. Highlight of the play was the romantic scene between Vivienne Nuttall and Adrian Powell, which succeeded in being both amusing and moving.
Finally, our thanks must go to the staff and pupils who have worked behind the scenes and also to the actors themselves.
Sandra Twigg, 6UA.
THE STRATFORD TRIP
The weather had been unusually good all week but, inevitably, on the day of the trip to Stratford, the heavens opened. It was hardly a propitious beginning, but undeterred we set off at 8-30 a.m. (after all we had paid!)
After four hours travelling our first action in Stratford was to go in search of food. Then, suitably refreshed, we made our way to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to see "Henry V."
The performance was good, if somewhat uninspired; the battle scenes were excellent, as was the staging of the whole play.
A scene between Katherine, the daughter of the King of France, and Alice, a lady in waiting, was delightfully played to its greatest capacity of comedy, although it merely consisted of a completely irrelevant and nonsensical conversation. The love scene, in which Henry proposed to Katherine, was also played with the emphasis on comedy. These scenes were by far the most memorable and most enjoyable. However, for myself, the outstanding part of the play was the death of Corporal Nym. Here there was a swift and unexpected change from comedy to tragedy, with the sudden murder of this appealing, comic character.
As to individual performances they were good, professional but not tinged with inspiration. Ian Holm gave a competent, if somewhat lack-lustre, portrayal of Henry. He was unfortunately rather small for the part and had neither the presence nor the dignity associated with leaders of men. Tony Church was outstanding as the Archbishop of Canterbury, complete with Irish brogue straight from the peat bogs. The audience was completely bewildered as he unsuccessfully unravelled Henry's family tree, enmeshing his listeners in a tangle of names. Richard Moore was a very amusing Pistol, while David Waller, equipped with a North Wales lilt, gave a riotously successful portrayal of the Monmouth Captain, Fluellen. Patrick Stewart turned in a credible performance as the thoroughly repulsive Dauphin, while Sarah Hyle and Frances de la Tour were excellent as Katherine and Alice. However, the most impressive performance was given by Ian Richardson as the Chorus, who stole every feminine heart with his saturnine good looks and imposing presence. The part was tailor-made for him.
The trip was rounded off in the traditional manner, Mrs. Borieau and Mr. Machin aiding us with their delightful, if rather unusual harmony.
S. Twigg, 6UA
There was once a young man from Ealing,
Who boarded a bus for Darjeeling,
It said on the door
"Don't spit on the floor."
So he stood there and spat on the ceiling.
H. Grayson, 4S