“A romp through Pride and Prejudice” was how one joyful parent described last week’s Lower School Play: Head of Speech and Drama, Rebecca Vines, had the inspired idea of making a play about making a film about making a play of the famous period piece – and it was about as meta-theatrical as you can get, complete with film set, directors, producers, extras, queues for the portaloo (what WOULD La Austen have said? Something satirical, no doubt) and luvvies galore.
The cast started the great opening of the novel – all pretty straight so far – only to be rudely interrupted by a clip form the famous BBC series, and their director thundering “Cut!” and muttering something disparaging about “Colin Firth…” You get the picture.
The whole thing lay somewhere between the wondrous BBC comedy “Extras”, Stoppard’s Arcadia (constant switching from period to present), and some kind of loopy French and Saunders parody. Mayhem and joy abounded with Tweetie Pie making an appearance at one point! Lots of delicious performances from talented Lower School pupil especially Guy Amos as an unctuous Mr Collins, Max Thomas as proud Mr Darcy wondering when he will finally make it with Izzy Moulding’s measured Lizzie Bennet, and a wonderful turn from Nick Mackay donning lipstick for the role of Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Dame Judi being unavailable!). Huge credit must go to Fifth Formers Gabbie Sills and Maddie Dunn, who tirelessly adapted the novel into performable scenes, and organised rehearsals and their peers into a coherent production to remember. Joy, delight and fizzy frolics in period dress.