This term’s North House plays was a series of short sketches and they unveiled some hidden acting talent within the house. Directed by Rory Weyman, the varied pieces were thoroughly enjoyable to watch and contained some extremely funny moments.
The evening opened with ‘Alarms’ written by Michael Frayn: this was an extremely funny portrayal of a group of friends who were spending an afternoon together. Ollie Taylor, Erin McCombe, Georgie Heinreich and Alex Robertson showed the audience how such a small problem such as an alarm could amount to much more. Ollie’s fanny pack (American for bum bag), which clearly had everything, added even more humour to the already hysterical sketch.
‘Heart to Heart’ followed, in which the audience saw a scene based in a club, where Clifford (Will Day) and Chairman (Bee Hardcastle) portrayed a young man flirting with a woman, both of whom constantly misheard each other, leading to Clifford getting his hopes up for a lucky night only to be introduced to Peter (Theo Gloyens) the Chairman’s husband. There was an excellent use of facial expressions used in this scene to portray the confusion in the scene.
‘Look away now’ was next and was definitely the most explicit of all the scenes. Set on an aeroplane, it saw Jon Pennock and Joe Hardy stripping down to their underwear, being instructed by the Head flight attendant Tessa Lenselink. It was a good choice of scene and very entertaining.
Finally came ‘The Interviewer’ written by Rory Weyman himself. This scene showed Rory’s talent as a writer and was extremely funny. The scene saw Mr Burnett (Dom Coy) announcing the promotion of Mr Witcombe, thus leaving a space for a deputy in the house and the interviews that followed for the now empty position. The Interviewer, Theo MacDonald, showed little emotion and that really made the audience feel quite frightened of him. Jamie Harrison, Rory Weyman and Robbie Matthews were also very good in playing Mr Leeke, Mr Neill and Mr Jenkins and helped to create one of the most enjoyable scenes of the evening. The closing of the scene saw Gerald (Charlie Cutting) getting up to his usual antics and making sure he set a good impression only to, of course, get the job.
Overall the whole evening brought fantastic performances from all the cast and showed that you do not have to be an experienced actor to be able to put on a good piece of theatre.
George Berry (L6th Loveday)
East then treated the VCT audience to a play that allowed for laughter, sympathy and banter squeezed into less than an hour. The play opened with the doltish, yet lively, Luke Rooke, who held the audience from beginning to end: his physicality complemented his vocality wholly. His obliviousness to the pretentiousness of the cricket club’s captain, played with panache by Freddie Banks, led to moments of rapturous laughter. His relationship to the other characters was a perfect framework to the unfolding of the plot.
Hattie Allison playing Pauline Hincliff was the perfect contrast to the dim-witted nature of Billy Wigley (Luke’s character): full of despair and ambition for a date that was either a tad more glamorous than Tetford Cricket Club or a meal that had more to it than a measly pickled gherkin. The idea of both, she felt, was a little unrealistic.
Their relationship was tested by the disobliging character of Pauline’s Father – Len Hincliff, played by Freddie Banks, with his supercilious, pompous attitude. His deluded idea that his reputation was unassailable and his bowling unplayable shone through in Freddie’s brilliant characterisation.
As the play went on the audience were told about two different secrets: Jean Hincliff, ( Maddie Lock) who was Len’s wife, was having an affair with Ray, who was Len’s ‘right hand men’ and played by Joe Gill. The other secret was that the girls’ cricket team were the England national team – the audience were gently teased with more information about these two secrets by Maddie and Jemima Stephenson in her role as the Captain of the women’s team. Maddie owned the stage with her sure presence and was extremely convincing. The reluctance she showed towards her husband was delicately played, bringing out the more serious element of the play. Jemima Stephenson’s secret, on the other hand, was a rather different affair. However, it was just as well played. She and her two team mates exploited the obscenely dumb-witted nature of the boys, each having, by far, more brain power than the males put together. Joe Gill played his part brilliantly, showing he had higher aspirations than a dodgy cricket club in Yorkshire. His dream to run off with Jean was a theme that he and she played perfectly, portraying a very realistic and rather despairing plot line. The twain had an intensity that stole the audience’s sympathy with Joe Gill’s ability to swap between humour and severity especially enviable. The play was held together brilliantly by Ed Russell, Tom Berry and Adam Forrester playing brilliantly on the farcical nature of the club, as well as Iola Andrews and Ellie Williamson, who owned the stage as they showed their superiority to the dim-witted nature of the boys.
It was a superb play directed by two enigmatic directors: Alex Forsdike and Ed Griffiths. Their ingenuity was clearly evident.
Orlando Taylor (L6th Loveday)