Shakespeare for Schools is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the school calendar. Once again, a courageous troupe of Prep School pupils trod the boards at Leatherhead Theatre and they put on a fabulous performance.
We were treated, this year, to a witty and entertaining version of ‘Taming of the Shrew’. The actors were all so natural in their roles, that the Shakespearean verse sounded like daily, play-time conversation. The vibrant set and costumes transported the audience from a rainy Leatherhead evening to a sunny Italian afternoon. James was the perfect Petruchio, a self-confident gent who also undergoes his own “taming” throughout the play. Jess played a feisty and headstrong Katherina, with a memorable, well-placed, ‘foot on chest’ moment. Millie and Bella were excellent in their refusal to come when commanded by their husbands, convincingly played by Will and Theo. Macca was a very authoritative Baptista and Nathanael provided some much-needed comic value. Oscar, the chef, had food thrown at him, alongside Henry, Jack, Nathanael and James. Max and Immy were reverent clergy, up to the moment where the priest lost his cool, and Skye and Jess supported their mistresses in the role of servant girls. Cecily said what we were all thinking, when she met the future tutors, and Hugh’s interpretation of Gremio provided many laughs from the audience. Tiger supported the cast with his role as Curtis and Cameron certainly out-smarted his master. Luca, Louis and Maddie set the tone of the entire play with their brave audience involvement at the beginning of the set.
In our modern prep school environment, this play asks as many questions as it answers. Much debate was had during break times about possible alternative endings for this play, which sit uncomfortably in today’s society. Nonetheless, expertly directed by Mr Waller and Mrs Everett, this performance saw a meeting of equals from Petruchio and Kate, with the girls giving every bit as fiery performances as the boys. Cranleigh Prep filled the theatre with their energetic and buoyant performance of ‘Taming of the Shrew’, which was funny, raw and engaging throughout.