Event Review: Year 8 Produce 'Our Day Out' In Just Six Days
On a few balmy evenings at the very end of the Summer Term, the Year 8 Leavers performed the very humorous, yet thought provoking, musical adaptation of Willy Russell’s Our Day Out to packed audiences who were transported back to the inner-city depression of 1970s Liverpool and the idyllic coastlines of North Wales.
Our Day Out displays all the chaos and hilarity that result when Mrs. Kay’s ‘Progress Class’ are unleashed for a day’s coach trip to Conway Castle in Wales via the café, the zoo, the beach and the funfair. At the core of the play lies the contrast between the two teachers, Mrs Kay and Mr Briggs, and their respective educational philosophies.
The clashes between the two characters create most of the tension in the play and serve to focus the audience’s attention upon what type of education is most appropriate for this type of under-privileged child. It is their interactions – and the responses of the children in their care – that force us to question what education is all about.
Mrs Gail Brundle, Head of English and Drama said “This production was put together in a very short space of time; in just six days the whole play materialised. I am immensely proud of what the children have managed to achieve in such little time; I am amazed by the quality of acting and the commitment and enthusiasm of the Year 8 students involved in the performances. Given the exceptional talent I witnessed on stage, I have no doubt that, for some of the children, a career in the performing arts is a very realistic ambition.”
Joseph Muschialli was perfect as the domineering, officious Mr. Briggs, while Mrs. Kay’s caring and gentle strength was sensitively portrayed by Esther Tuson. They were ably supported by the fabulous James Thompson and Oliver Bean as the cheeky yet immensely popular ‘toe-rags’, Reilly and Digga.
Beth Preston and Jem Matthews performed with skill and confidence as Carol and Andrews. Joseph Marks played the part of the grumpy bus-driver with authority, and Orla Maclaurin and Owen Pennington likewise were great as the fresh-faced and rather inexperienced student teachers, Susan and Colin.
Special mention must also go to Maddie Goodman and Alex Hawkins who played Linda and Karen with style and sass, and to the talented ‘Bored Girls’ and ‘Bad Lads’ who injected a lot of humour and mischief into the play.
It is not, however, possible to review everyone individually and the whole cast must be congratulated on their amazing professionalism and extremely high standard of performance. They pulled out all the stops with this funny yet challenging show, capturing both the warmth and bleakness of the education system in the 1970s.
It had bags of energy and charisma; a great example of how the school can help children to explore and develop their talents to great effect. I am very grateful to all of those whose hard work made it such a success but special thanks must go to Mrs. Laura Burdekin for going that extra mile in helping me to prepare the whole cast, to Mrs. Pendry and her team for their musical support, and to Mr. Meier and Mr. Gisby for their technical skills.
The children and staff worked tirelessly to bring this production to the stage and the show brought smiles - and some tears - to everyone’s face, an achievement certainly worth celebrating!