19-20 August 14:00 (15:00) @ Edinburgh Academy
By the McNaughton family reviewers
As the co-writer of this show has already won Fringe First awards seven times, we thought we might be in for a treat.
Jeremy James Taylor was inspired by a short scene in Shakespeare’s Henry V where ‘a boy’ talks of his concerns that as one of the lackeys of the baggage-train employed in guarding the King’s luggage, he feared for his safety:
“I must stay with the lackeys, with the luggage of our camp: the French might have a good prey of us, if he knew of it; for there is none to guard it but boys.“ (Shakespeare: Henry V, Act IV, Scene 4)
From this tiny snippet, Jeremy James Taylor and his co-writer David Nield weave a moving story of the boys who are awaiting the start of the great battle of Agincourt in October 1415 as they speak and sing of their fears and concerns about the day ahead.
A strong cast of young boys from Willington School (http://www.willingtonschool.co.uk/contact.html) aged from 10 to 13 depict the parts of the baggage train servants and the choristers of the Chapel Royal who were also required to accompany Henry V to sing Mass four times a day. A repertoire of music written in fifteenth-century style especially for the show is woven in with some original music. All of the performers in this production are children, and they put on a very creditable performance, with some shining future stars amongst them. They are accompanied by a small orchestra of 6 playing the atmospheric music which really helps to set the scenes. The costumes and simple but effective set are excellent, and the venue in the small but well-equipped school Performing Arts Centre at Edinburgh Academy is very appropriate for such a production.
Our junior reviewers were most moved by the story and plight of the boys in the tale and it is a testament to the acting abilities of the boys that they carried the whole audience along with them as they told their sad tale.
We’d definitely recommend this production and any drama teachers who are looking for inspiration for their next musical show might be well served to go along too.
Added comments by Helen (12): “I thoroughly enjoyed the show, although it was not really my thing.”
Added comments by Alex (8): “It was good, but sad.”