It was brash. It was bawdy. It was bold. It was utterly Winchester and so very Phil’s.
Theatre in Winchester is a tough (but hugely exciting and rewarding) business. Not only do you have to coordinate dozens upon dozens of hours of rehearsals with tens of people who all have about a thousand other commitments but you also have to organise lighting, make-up, the stage, front of house and then come up with a vision for the play itself. But The Producers isn’t only a play; it’s a musical. It’s not only a musical; it’s an absolutely hilarious farce. Phil’s achieved this unthinkable feat for their house play under the guidance of Matthew Given and Mrs Webster spectacularly.
It was the indomitable spirit of Wykehamists that we witnessed in the theatre those two nights. The ability to be able to sing at the top of your lungs in front of two hundred people packed into QE2, while you know that you are tone-deaf, is an impressive one: Max Dolan (the loveable, mild-mannered, crowd-pleaser Leo Bloom) and Tom Brown (the cutthroat, washed-up Max Bialystock) certainly did this. They had brilliant chemistry and great comic timing and it was a pleasure to watch them act.
Leaving the theatre I heard people say that it was the best house play they thought they would ever see at Winchester College. Who knows what we will see in the years to come, but I do know that the image of Matthew Given (as the absolutely fabulous Roger de Bris) standing atop a glittering silver staircase, lit with multicolour spotlights and a chorus line waiting for him as he transformed Adolf Hitler into a camp, jazzy, satirical artiste will not leave my mind any time in the near future.
It goes to show that Wykehamists are capable of acting both the greatest modern tragedies of Arthur Miller and letting go of all of their shame and reservation and producing the likes of The Producers, which certainly was one of the masterpieces we have seen in QE2 this year.
The Producers is the story of how a beaten-down Broadway Producer concocts an illegal scheme with his mousy accountant to make the biggest Broadway flop ever, complete with the worst script (Springtime For Hitler – that was never going to turn out good was it?), the worst actors and the most ludicrously airy-fairy director.
Unfortunately for them, the play, due to an incredibly bizarre turn of events, becomes an instant hit and they end up in jail after being caught by the IRS. It is an unending satire and beautiful homage to the golden days of American Broadway.
16th April 2019
Former pupil, Alfie Thompson talks to the Wykeham Journal about his time in 'Mill' and studying for an MEng at Imperial College, London’s Dyson School of Design Engineering.
9th April 2019
In this year's Wykeham Journal, guest editor, Jeremy Duns celebrates the long and successful life of Bill (Cecil) Hodges.
4th April 2019
From the 28th – 30th March 2019, Winchester College and St Swithun’s School staged Fiddler on the Roof at the city’s Theatre Royal. Harry Robinson and Arthur Lyhne-Gold, pupils and performers, look back at the production.
3rd April 2019
Earlier this month, the residents of Phil’s took part in The Producers. Carson White, pupil, reviews the production.
29th March 2019
On the 22nd – 24th March, the military skills team from the army section deployed on the 11X Military Skills Competition, an annual competition open to schools and cadet forces across the South East Region. Pupil and Head of the Army Section, Zora Bath reports on their activities.
28th March 2019
On Thursday 21st March, members of the Car Society had the opportunity to tour the prestigious McLaren Technology Centre, home to McLaren's F1 road car and Applied Technologies efforts.