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‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona’, Shakespeare On The Lawn Review

4 Jul 24

The Chapel lawn in School was filled with picnics, blankets, and chairs (as well as one or two umbrellas!) as family, friends, Old Woodbridgians and staff members from across the School came together to see this year’s Year 9 Shakespeare On The Lawn production The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

A much-anticipated event by all, it’s fair to say we’ve all been hoping and praying for good weather so that we might enjoy this delightful evening, and that we did. The occasional light rain shower did nothing to deter our actors or our audience.

Our Year 9 students have been rehearsing for weeks, working incredibly hard, and were certainly ready to put on a performance as everyone sat to watch the stage under the trees come to life with script, song and laughter – as well as beautiful props, wonderfully jolly music and delicate lighting.

One of the first of Shakespeare’s many masterpieces, The Two Gentlemen of Verona is considered to be where he showed for the first time some of the themes and characters for future plays. The story of friendship, love, infidelity, the conflict and misunderstandings between friends as well as foolish behaviours of lovers, was told by our Year 9 students, who performed magnificently.

We were introduced to two best friends, Proteus and Valentine, who both travel to Milan and both fall in love with the same girl – the Duke’s daughter, Sylvia. Although Sylvia clearly loves Valentine and vice versa, Proteus continues to pursue her, despite already having a girlfriend at home, Julia. The play follows this twisting tale of love, misunderstanding and confusion until we see Proteus and his friend Valentine scuffle at the realisation of their matched affection for the same girl. Proteus eventually backs down ridiculously realising he actually does love Julia, and they are married as are Valentine and Sylvia.

There was much comedy in most scenes, and the students captivated our audience in every way. No matter who was on stage or what part they played in that scene, our actors demonstrated their understanding of the importance of their actions in relation to one another as well as each and every part of every scene.

The actors moved around the stage with ease, exiting right and left to travel behind the audience as they left their scenes; this movement was as much a part of the performance as what was happening on stage, it was captivating!

A short pause in the first half for a light rain shower was managed professionally, and gave our audience the opportunity to grab another coffee, Pimm’s or refreshment from their picnic baskets – spirits were high and the weather did nothing to dampen spirits; it was clear to see how impressed visitors to the School were by the way our students and staff managed this slight interruption.

Thank you to absolutely everyone involved in this production and the performances; from our wonderful Head of Drama Miss Mayes and her team, as well as all those in School who have allowed students to rehearsals or helped support the show in so many ways over the past few weeks and on the evening.

Thanks also to our Design students who created merchandise that was sold at both evening performances, showcasing their superb design skills in producing memorabilia that can be cherished for years to come.

And finally thank you to everyone who supported our students by coming along to the performances; they’ve worked so incredibly hard and it was clear to see their dedication, enthusiasm and commitment, as well as their enjoyment and talent. We’re incredibly lucky to be treated to these performances each and every year, and once again everyone who came along enjoyed a beautiful and entertaining evening.

The performance was a joy to watch, it was colourful, lively, funny and serious in all the right places.

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