Drama Festival Review

The long anticipated St Louis Drama Festival finally took place on Wednesday, the 22nd November. Normally, the Drama Festival is held in the lead up to the mid-term break at Hallowe’en but, due to the ongoing renovations and building work, the hall was unable to accommodate the audience until last week.

If you are a senior, the festival probably passed you by but you still can remember the excitement associated with the drama festival in your junior years. The build up and hard work that went on is relatively unseen by the rest of the school but it is certainly felt within the English Department, so it is with a mixture of relief and happiness that it is all over again for another year.

The Drama Festival opened with 8X’s production of, “Anxiety is Orange”, a new play for the drama festival, this play featured a series of short scenes or vignettes, incorporating most of the class, examining how colour can be interpreted and how people should not be judged by their outward appearance.

There were some excellent performances dealing with some very difficult themes ranging from depression to dealing with spoiled princesses. The entire class were on the stage for the whole performance and the level of concentration from everyone showed a level of teamwork and maturity that goes beyond their years. Calum Lyttle, who played several roles on the stage won the Best Supporting Actor title as he stole the show as Tyler and an anxiety-riddled brother, however there were some other stellar performances- Niamh Fitzpatrick as Jealousy played completely against type, she is far too nice to play such a monster, while Rebecca Platt was really moving as a determined young woman struggling to let go of her past. There were some great group performances- too many to mention but the strength of the piece was the supportive nature of the cast and the involvement of so many to create a nicely varied production that explored human nature.

This was followed by Oliver Twist and some of the following actors that deserved a mention and really stood out were, Cameron Gribben as Bill Sykes and Tara Frazer, who played Dodger. The costumes were exceptional and the play was awarded the prize of Best Costumes (Year 9)

The third play to be shown was the Victorian Book Club, written by Mrs Calderwood herself and performed by a supremely confident and mature year 8 class. There were many students who deserved a special mention: Both Mary Shelleys, Maisie Clarke and Bobby-Joe Campbell; Ashley and Lauren who both played Mrs Minns; and, of course the two Charles Dickens actors, Tommy Cunningham and Jack McDonald, who were awarded the joint accolade of Best Actor (Year 8). There was also the unforgettable Dodger, with a pristine Cockney accent, played by Patrick Brady and the villainous Fagin played perfectly by Conor McConville. Both egocentric and narcissistic Percy Shelley’s were also unforgettable and very humourous, Roan McIntosh and Eamon Caldwell. The play was a witty tribute to the bygone superstars of the literary world and was admirably performed by a truly talented cast, the production deserved the title of Best Play for the year 8s.

The next performance was The Nose, by 8Y. Great costumes, a confident opening from the Good Fairy and the Bad Fairy took us through the play with a great speaking voice and similarly confident performance. The wigs were outstanding and the beautiful portraits of Mrs Cunningham and Mrs McMullan were a nice touch but how the poor prince chose from this selection, I will never know. The prince and princess were excellent performers and clearly very comfortable on the stage. The play took the prize for best dramatic moment for the poor prince’s attempts to wake his princess with a kiss. A brave performance in front of three year groups of your peers- well done!

Shrek was the crowd pleaser of the day with the many, many lines delivered confidently and humorously by the cast. Eoin Sloan as Shrek kept his Scottish accent and was well-supported by his Donkey side-kick. The scene with the Bachelorettes was particularly humorously done with the inclusion of Mrs Brown played by Jamie Cunningham. The play collected the prize for the best year 9 play and, judging by the reaction of the crowd was the correct decision.

Ernie’s Illucinations was the next offering and the play was held together really well by Cormac Cunningham’s excellent performance as the main lead- Ernie. We felt he truly deserved the Best Actor award for the year 9s for  a really confident and extremely convincing performance. This performance was a great ensemble piece and the cast won the Best Dramatic Moment for the boxing scene where Aunt May showed everyone what she could do- convincing moment for Connie Gibbons who is a keen amateur boxer anyway.

To sum up then the awards for the 2017 St Louis Drama Festival are:

(Drum roll please…!!!)

Year 8

Best Play- The Victorian Book Club (Mrs Calderwood)

Best Actor- Jointly awarded to Tommy Cunningham and Jack McDonald for the role of Charles Dickens in the Victorian Book Club.

Best Supporting Actor- Calum Lyttle- Tyler in Anxiety is Orange

Best Scene- The Kissing scene from The Nose.

Year 9

Best Play- Shrek (Mr Quigg)

Best Actor- Cormac Cunningham as Ernie in Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations.

Best Supporting Actor- Alesha Clare as Nancy in Oliver Twist.

Best Scene- Auntie May’s Boxing Match in Ernie.

Well done everyone and we look forward to a break next year  because… (you will have to wait and see).

CK