This year’s end of year play, performed by the leavers of Long Wittenham Primary School was a mix of pantomime and musical comedy, and it was great fun.
There was a combination of many styles of theatre: music, dance and comedy. The comedy took many forms, one liner jokes, slapstick, more puns (starting with the play’s title) than you would hear in an edition of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and comedy duos in the Morecambe and Wise genre. Despite the mayhem, there was still room for pathos: a beautiful trio between a mother and her two daughters who were at that time separated by oceans. However, the audience was bought back to reality at frequent intervals by the intervention of two Health and Safety officers.
The plot was traditional. A mother and two daughters who were upset by the disappearance of the father to join the Pirates, a treasure map in their possession but stolen by the Pirates. There ensued a race to the treasure between the navy and the Pirates. But it all ended happily: the treasure was found and distributed evenly among all parties and the daughters were reunited with their father.
The pupils obviously enjoyed their participation, smiling and laughing throughout the performance and on occasions giggling when the unexpected occurred. There was a continually changing backdrop to the stage. The audience was unlikely to nod off, but if they did this scenery told you exactly where the action was taking place.
The most poignant part of the evening was after the last curtain call. A photo montage prepared by staff and parents was shown relating to the leavers’ home and school life. Tears flowed freely showing that the transition from primary to secondary education is a big event in both children’s and parents’ lives.
Finally, there was a round of applause to all those who contributed to a very enjoyable evening: actors, staff and technical helpers.
There is of course a downside to such a wonderful production. If the West End run of the play is extended, local secondary schools will be short on pupil numbers at the start of next term.