“He’s behind you!” “Oh no she isn’t!” “Oh yes she is!” were some of the shouts coming from the Bonsier Theatre at Coulsdon College this morning. It was packed full of Year 3 and Year 4 children from nearby Byron School and by the time they took the short walk back to school, they must surely have been hoarse from the shouting.
The journey with Dorothy and her friends the tin man, the scarecrow and the lion, down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City was mottled with adventure and incidents. We were taken from Munchkin land, over the rainbow, down the yellow brick road through a land of childish imagination and humour. Credit should be given to Performing Arts Teacher, Rebecca Cristaldi who wrote much of the script with some improvised input from the students and Helen Patterson who choreographed all the dance moves.
The talented cast worked hard to whip the audience up into a Christmas frenzy, incorporating lots of interaction, inviting the young pupils onto the stage to take part in the dancing. Strong performances were provided by all the main characters and supported by animated munchkins throughout. Jessica Hann played a menacing Wicked Witch of the West, with incredibly expressive hands. Comic performances were provided by Andre Herczeg as Boq, the gate keeper and Chris Backway, who played the Wizard, a self-confessed “Humbug”. His eccentric performance was further emphasised by his appearance in PJs and stocking feet.
Strong Dance sets interjected the performance, helping to build atmosphere and making the eventual resolve “Theres no place like home” even more significant.
“We’ve been rehearsing for three months and solidly for the last two,” explained Jessica Hann at the end of the performance, “everybody has pulled together and we are proud of what we have achieved.” Angelique Rodriguez, who played a very glamorous Good witch of the North added “The Arts and Fashion students have designed and made our costumes, the set and props, so it has been a real cross-college collaboration.”
Byron Year 4 teacher, Toni Valeriano, was very enthusiastic about the panto.
“The students did an amazing job and our children were engaged from beginning to end,” she said, “the characters were credible and believable and you could see that the youngsters were completely drawn in. Now we have to contain their excitement and go back to work at school, but we have had the most amazing morning. Thank you Coulsdon College!”