The Cubitt play in the VCT was a collection of comedy sketches ingeniously compiled, slightly touched-up (ooh, Matron!) and co-directed by Ed Clarke. It was in one way like a history of the best of British comedy (you have to be my age to have heard the original ‘Round the Horne’ radio shows) and yet clearly appealed to the younger audience as well as the older members. Running gags from the series (“I, Douglas Smith, play the lion” becoming “I, Oli Trower…”) and the many puns still held their magic, enhanced by being acted out physically. Cubitt were fortunate to have so many talented and experienced actors to call on: Alex Clarke, Cameron Scheijde, Angus McConnell-Wood, Weston (and Georgia) Lord, to name but a famous five.
Those who were there will not need me to remind them of how entertaining the evening was, and those who were not will not want a full list of all eight sketches, including those from which, quite rightly, none of the dirt was removed. Alex Clarke set the tone for an evening of great hilarity with his schoolmaster roll-call and this, along with Rowan Atkinson’s ‘Fatal Beating’ (Weston Lord wielding the cane), anchored the humour to the setting of the VCT: Vivian Cox himself might well have been beaten when he was a boy at Cranleigh, though it was being phased out when he returned here to teach! The Kenneth Horne sketches were superbly led from the front by Angus and Cameron, though there were so many comic vignettes (two of the sketches had casts of 13) that it would be invidious to single out a few.
Co-directors Clair Neill and Ed Clarke ensured most of the diction was clear and the right tone was adopted for the differing comedic styles. Much trouble was taken over costumes (such as the pirate hats) and the excellent Theo Bowden and Noah Frett ensured the technical side was immaculate. For me, though, the highlight of the evening was not the playwrights but The Playwrights, the Cubitt band. Guy Trevellyan and Luke Halls were very assured and stylish and Theo Golden was simply astonishing. Without a microphone, his rendition of the Nina Simone’s song ‘Feeling Good’ was stunning in its vocal control and relaxed power. I know that Housemaster Charlie Boddington was delighted to see so many talented Cubittians on stage, with only two guests from the twinned House needed.