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 July 2019
A Winchester College pupil has won a national chemistry competition, scoring the highest mark out of 10,000 pupils.
9th July 2019
To mark the 200th anniversary of Keats's time in Winchester, the school will host two public talks and a new exhibition about the poet.
19th June 2019
The standard of acting and directing on display at this year's Junior Drama Festival was as high as ever. This wonderful house competition, bringing together fourth and first years to put on a production is a highlight of the summer term, proving hugely enjoyable for participants and audiences alike. One of the actors reflects on his experience.
18th June 2019
A beautiful new publication showcases 50 treasures from the school's outstanding collections.
5th June 2019
BBC Four series, 'Victorian Sensations', visited Winchester College's Science School museum earlier this year to recreate one of Oliver Lodge’s pioneering experiments with electromagnetic waves.
5th June 2019
On the eve of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Rear Admiral William Warrender CBE, Flag Officer Sea Training, inspected the Winchester College Combined Cadet Force.