Duke of York's Royal Military School

Review: The Welkin, Sixth Form Play

Published on isbi School News dated Thursday 12th of January 2023

The long awaited Form play arrived this week, with the cast of ‘The Welkin’ putting on two performances that were the culmination of their hard work. Originally a National Theatre production, sixteen students from the Sixth Form transported audiences back to 18th century Suffolk, to a courtroom where twelve matrons decide the fate of a supposedly pregnant woman. The play was full of laughter and innuendos, betrayal and sadness, as well as a sense of nostalgia for the tight knit community of the past.

With a relatively small cast and stage – the performance was taken off site this year to The Gallery Studio Theatre in Ipswich – there was more intimacy between the characters and the audience, leading to a high impact performance.

The Welkin was infused in modernity, both with subtle hints in its language and the costumes themselves. The decision made by the drama department to include modern-day shoes as a contrast to the historical element of the costuming cleverly emphasised the modern themes of feminine authority explored throughout the play. The female condition, and the extent of authority it entails, forms a significant part
of The Welkin. The two lead characters, Sally and Lizzie, present two contrasting images of womanhood, yet are united in their resistance towards male authority. Bo H and Amy O particularly shined in their lead performances.

Bo’s vivid portrayal of the female rage, expertly delivering a heart wrenching rendition of her character’s tragic end, was hugely poignant. Amy’s strong performance as Lizzie was also outstanding, and the way she took control over the scene, perfectly depicting the authority her character holds over the other characters, was very impressive.

The ensemble cast of the twelve matrons performed brilliantly, their connections and relationships being uncovered for the audience to realise the community atmosphere of a tragic situation. Amongst the banter and squabbling, the actors portrayed the incredible care the characters had for one another, with everyone having their own backstory and experiences addressed throughout the play.

The play, although completely contrasting the uplifting and goofy Addams Family Musical last year, was a triumph and all those involved most definitely deserved the two standing ovations they received. Well done to the drama department for another fantastic production.
Review: The Welkin, Sixth Form Play - Photo 1
Grace Education
Hazelwood School