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Sparkling Performance at The Stahl

Published on isbi School News dated Thursday 23rd of January 2014

A talented cast of Third and Fourth formers from Oundle School, directed by Drama teacher, Matt Burlington, recently illuminated some wet and chilly winter evenings with their sparkling performances of Timberlake Wertenbaker's Ash-Girl in The Stahl Theatre.

The Ash Girl is the Cinderella story, but more as the Brothers Grimm saw it in the somewhat grimmer Aschenputtel, rather than the more sanitised modern versions or jokey pantomimes. It also updates the fable for the 21st century with some feminist ideas on love and marriage - marrying a prince isn't the be all and end all for a girl, and marriage is only the beginning of a long relationship. It is also a more sympathetic take on the 'ugly stepsisters' who turn out to be more interested in their own careers than in the Prince. "All I ever wanted was a microscope", says Judith, forlornly limping off with her sliced off toes.

Drama teacher, Andrew Martens commented. 'Of course Wertenbaker doesn't lose sight of the romance, and Millie Tusa (13) as Ash-girl and George Barbieri (14) as Prince Amir made a charming couple. There were also strong performances from Bella Dixon-Smith (15) and Coco Brown (15) as the sisters, and Bella Cholmeley (14) was a chillingly cool and cruel stepmother. Bella Brazg Carrell (14) was in fine form as Amir's wise mother, with Adrian Choy (14) providing an amusing comic turn as Amir's friend, Paul. Thea Smith's (15) almost blindingly sparkly fairy godmother was a calm and graceful counterpoint to all the nastiness coming not only from Ash-girl's family, but also from the zoomorphised seven deadly sins, preying on human weaknesses from their home in the woods. Helping Ash-girl all along were a charming group of talking animals.'

Wardrobe Manager, Jo Henderson excelled herself with some wonderfully imaginative costumes, not just the stunning ball gowns, but the cleverly conceived animals. The set also made clever use of the Stahl stage with three levels, two of them at times separated by a gauze. The uppermost level was a riot of colourful silks and drapes, giving an oriental feel to Prince Amir and his family.

Sparkling Performance at The Stahl - Photo 1Sparkling Performance at The Stahl - Photo 2
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