Fantastic Mr Fox

We all know the story of Fantastic Mr Fox and many schools do indeed use Roald Dahl’s witty, gripping and ultimately triumphant tale for their school plays. I know Bradfield and Downe House have both recently ‘put it on’. I started writing the script in November and decided that I would stick very closely to Dahl’s words in the book. He is a better writer than me after all. However, it had to be made into dialogue as well as narrated plot, so my biggest test was to do that and keep it faithful to the great man. Where I most certainly strayed from being faithful to the book was firstly to make it into a musical and secondly, to choose the songs that I did. Boney M, Showaddywaddy, Status Quo, Queen, Blondie, The Marcels, Dolly Parton and The Credence Clearwater Revival are hardly down with the kids but they have certainly enjoyed learning and performing them. There must surely have been one or two guilty pleasures for Mum and Dad too!

The sixty-four strong cast from years Five and Six were split up into Moles, Badgers, Weasels, Rabbits, Humans, Little Foxes, Farmers (I know, they’re humans too), Ivy and Vera, our commentating dormice, Drunken Rat, a PG Wodehouse-inspired Mr Badger, and our hero and heroine – Mr and Mrs Fox. The costumes designed and made by Lynette Robson and the make-up arranged by Shona Goaman, Emma Vincent and team was edgy, cool, a bit punky and really helped the boys inhabit their characters. They all looked amazing and this helped set the show apart from previous school productions I’ve put on and seen.

The great thing about Sian Bond’s direction is not her boundless energy, in my opinion. It is her attention to detail; this also set the show apart for me. The boys stay in character throughout, her hard work and vision for the set, her choreography for the songs, the props and the staging made it so much fun physically for the actors and as a spectacle for the audience. All of these boys not only put on a play but they learned skills under Sian’s tutelage, which will prove so wonderful for their confidence and performing in the future.

The main parts were particularly strong but for me it was very much an ensemble; it was a team performance, where lots of detail and discipline was demanded of the boys. They delivered with a real buzz allowing the audience to have a fantastic evening.

Well done, boys and thank you to all who were part of Team Fox!