Along with Golding’s Lord of the Flies, this play frequently appears in school Drama calendars. However, Upper Sixth former Nicole Tuffin’s debut as director simply captivated the audience who laughed, cried, cheered and applauded at the cast’s wonderful performances.
The story of twin brothers, separated at birth due to their mother’s desperate circumstances, neither knowing that they are related until their story ends in tragedy is, of course, well known as a West End musical.
The College production moved at a cracking pace with outstanding performances by Upper Sixth former Alice Kerrigan as Mrs Johnstone, the birth mother of the twins, and the trio of Lower Sixth former Hugo Healy (Micky), his younger brother from Remove, Tom (Eddie), and Vth former Ruby Goodridge (Linda).
The audience roared at seven year old (nearly eight!) Micky’s exuberant antics and giggled at Eddie’s rather more restrained family life. Later, many were left with a lump in the throat as the story approached its seemingly inevitable, tragic end.
The cold and uptight Mrs Lyons, whose desperate need for a child was chillingly portrayed by Upper Sixth former Mollie Weller, persuaded Mrs Johnstone to give her one of the twins and played on her superstitious nature by suggesting both would die if they ever found out the truth. This created an air of foreboding that was carried through the play by the narrator, played with menace by Lower Sixth former Bayley Nicholson.
Shell pupils, still in their first term of Senior School, more than supported the action with confident and striking presence. Tom Law was particularly impressive as Micky’s older, streetwise brother Sammy.
The parallel scenes of Micky and Eddie at school, hopefully not drawn from the cast’s own experiences at Hurst, reduced the audience to helpless laughter. Henry Crouch from Remove, who had earlier delighted the audience as both the milkman and the doctor, was spectacular as the class swot, whilst Joe Beesley’s comedy turn as the teacher in each scene was priceless.
As events in Micky’s life take a downward spiral, the actors shifted seamlessly from comedy to tragedy and the increasing desperation of both Micky and Linda was brought out poignantly by Hugo and Ruby.
This was a production that will linger on in the memory of those lucky enough to have seen it. Drama Teacher, Andrew Smith, was part of the audience on the show’s opening night and afterwards he said, "Nicole had clearly worked hard with her talented cast on each character’s tiniest details, whilst never losing sight of telling the story clearly and dramatically. Every member of the audience was engaged from first minute to last; it was Hurst Drama at its absolute best".
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