Winner of Schools Club Reviewers Competition!
Currently, Schools Club works with 40 specially selected schools from across London for a full academic year. Each school receives a pre-show workshop for every play which explores the plot, characters, themes and contemporary relevance of our productions before watching the show at the Theatre.
As part of The Winslow Boy workshops, we offered one passionate young reviewer the chance to have their critique of the show posted on our website and viewed by nearly 20,000 Twitter followers. We had some fantastic entries, making it clear that there is a generation of insightful and witty critics waiting to take to the culture pages. After much deliberation, we have selected Wembley High Technology College student, Harsimran Mann as the WINNER of our Schools Club Reviewers Competition.
Read on to see how The Winslow Boy was judged by Harsimran:
The Winslow Boy review
Ronnie Winslow, did you steal that postal order? The question on everyones mind as they watch the Old Vic Theatre production of The Winslow Boy. The story of a young thirteen year old boy being expelled from a Naval College and a fathers need to set things right for his son and his family grips the audience, leaving everyone dying to know if the child is innocent.
The play starts off with Ronnie sitting alone in his living room, sheer panic and worry on his face. But whats wrong with him? We dont know. At least not yet. We soon find out that Ronnie was expelled, only two days early from when he was supposed to come home from. The reason? He had been blamed for the robbery of a postal orderfor ten pounds. Yes, only ten pounds. He was given no free trail, but the worry still ate away at him. How would he tell his parents he had been expelled? Well, thats the thing. He wouldnt. Not yet at least. So what did he do when he heard his family come into the house? Run into the garden. While it was raining. Poor child. However bad we feel for the boy in this scene, it doesnt take away from the brilliant sound and setting in the room. You would believe the door to the garden is the door outside! They added great rain effects and if you are lucky enough to get a seat where you can peak through, you would swear you were looking into a back garden.
Of course, Ronnie does eventually tell his family. And the scenes where everyone finds out were acted out perfectly. Arthur Winslow, his father displayed so much fear for his sons well-being and stood by him through every moment. The silence after times he spoke showed how powerful of an actor he was and personally, I felt that if I had even coughed during the silence, he wouldve screamed at me and asked me if his son was okay. Henry Goodman was an amazing actor that night and his performance stood out so well. After everything that happened in the play, through all the hoops they had to jump through, Arthur Winslow never gave up. His motive was clear: Clear my sons name.
The whole play was set in one room, their living room. In many performances, keeping things in one place does get quite boring after a while. However, in this production, it was not the case. Keeping everything in one place improved things. We did not get to witness the court case itself, making us feel anxious. If we have not seen something with our own eyes, its hard to know if it is doing well or not. It provided the fear needed in The Winslow Boy. Also, the lighting for different times of day made it even more effective. For example, there is a scene where it is night. For this, the lights were dimmed out and the lamps were on. This created shadows when they moved around, showing the seriousness of the scene. And during the evenings, the lighting changed so gradually, you would look at your watch, believing you had just sat there a whole day. You couldnt possibly tell when they changed from night to day because it was so gradual and subtle.