The Year 8 Play: Sam’s Big Bash and the Power of Coincidence

Finally, it was the turn of the Year 8 Leavers to turn on the style at the end of June in Sam’s Big Bash and the Power of Coincidence. The Leavers’ production is always fast and furious, involving three days of intensive rehearsals starting on a Tuesday and leading to a performance on the Friday evening. There is a script – the result of the team’s ideas discussed and developed earlier in late April and May during some English and Drama lessons – but there is always an opportunity for each individual to make his or her own improvised contribution to the show and this time round was, in my view, one of the best. The play was set in the year 2037 and it told the story of how Sam Burchnall was to be enrolled into the Actors’ Hall of Fame in a special presentation at the famous old London Palladium. All his pals, that is, the Mowden 2017 Leavers, were invited but the invitation requested that each ex-Mowdenian came along prepared to offer a creative, artistic contribution to proceedings.

But what had happened to the Leavers of 2017 during the last twenty years? We hoped that each of them would have followed a successful path in life, although, I suppose it’s possible that one or two might have fallen by the wayside? And what about the role of coincidence, too: I mean, what money would you have put on five of the 2017 Year 8 girls each pursuing a career in the secret service? Or, for that matter, seven ex Mowdenians all working together in Camden Town as part of a Creative Arts Project? It beggared belief, didn’t it?

Well, what a cracking evening! With a boisterous, enthusiastic audience willing the cast on, this was one of the best Leavers’ productions I can remember. Everyone gave of their best and there was an almost tangible feeling of togetherness and sharing of responsibility on stage as well as outstanding personal and small group performances: Arthur Sutherland for his mature, poignant rendering of Ralph McTell’s ‘The Streets of London’: Grace for her equally charismatic singing of ‘The Song Goes like This’, Sam Burchnall for his measured and sensitive acting of Hamlet’s advice to the players; Blake Vassallo’s assured solo slot and telling jokes with polish and timing and then teaming up with his old mate Teddy Birkbeck: for Magnus Hextall and Violet Morley’s recitations; the dynamic quality of the Spies’ dancing and the raw aggression of the Punks. Indeed, the list goes on. But suffice it here to say well done and thanks to the audience and thanks to the actors and to all those involved with the production.


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