Congratulations to all pupils involved in this year's much-anticipated Upper School production of the musical School of Rock, which ran to great acclaim at the Redgrave Theatre this November.
An adaptation of the original Jack Black movie by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Glenn Slater and Julian Fellowes, the show transferred from Broadway to London in 2016, and has only just been released for amateur performances, with Clifton as usual pioneering its take-up by schools ambitious enough to tackle its challenges.
Amongst the highlights was the performance by five pupils who not only acted, sang and danced, but also played live instruments (drums, guitars, bass and keys) as part of the on-stage rock performances that the ultra-charismatic music coach Dewey Finn draws from his class at Horace Green Prep. Super-charged chorus and backing singing from all the younger cast-members brought audience excitement to fever pitch, particularly with the anthem to teenage rebellion Stick it to the man.
Other features to enjoy included dazzling performances of Mozart's notoriously virtuosic Queen of the Night aria by the headmistress character Miss Mullins, and humorous portrayals by senior pupils of quirky teaching staff, overly protective and unsympathetic parents, and Dewey's best mate (and put-upon husband) Ned, alongside his shrewish and comically vindictive wife, Patty.
College pupils also manned the lighting desk, assisted with stage management, played as part of the live pit band, and ensured that the 68 costume changes ran smoothly each night.
This particular show is tinged with sadness as it marks the final production of Clifton College's Director of Drama, Karen Pickles, whose enterprise and talent have brought to realisation over the years numerous musicals (Fiddler on the Roof, Les Miserables, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, Oliver, Miss Saigon, Chicago, and Cabaret), five junior productions, and, perhaps most innovatively, the summer Shakespeare performances in the College grounds (Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, A Midsummer's Night's Dream, and Twelfth Night). The seeds for a love of drama and musical theatre have most certainly been sown for the coming generations.