31 Mar Talented performers surpass expectations 

A group of senior Nayland students wowed appreciative audiences when they took Neil Bartlett’s adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ classic, Great Expectations, to the stage from 22nd-24th of March.

The play was chosen by drama teacher and director Anton Bentley who cast the roles at the end of last year. Students had their scripts over the holidays and attended full-day rehearsals before school even came back for the year.

The performance featured many characters with larger-than-life personalities. Lead roles were played by Stuart Lowe (Pip), Jaid Russ (Estella) and Indigo Levett (Miss Havisham). Indigo learnt a lot from playing such a complex character who was “bitter, held on to everything but also had a vulnerability.”

Most cast members played more than one character. Fynn Sawyer played two contrasting roles: Joe, “the only normalish guy”, and the sharp Mr Jaggers.  He said that swapping roles was a challenge but hugely rewarding.

Audience members Mark and Kate Lewers were among many who enjoyed the show. “I have unsuccessfully tried to read a few of his books before. However, I found this production very engaging and it had me hooked from the start,” Mark said.

For many of the cast, it was their first exposure to Dickens’ work. Director Mr Bentley was aware of the challenge involved in this. “Sometimes you just have to take those risks and actually work out, this is a really good opportunity for the students in it, rather than this is going to be a bums-on-seats kind of show,” he said.

The historic nature of the play presented students with a good opportunity to learn about the history of the class system and its hardships. Fynn describes the work as a social commentary with a message that is still relevant today: “Money’s not going to solve all your problems.”

By Jaid Russ and Sera King