The Peach Child
Bancroftians young and old came together in a dramatic venture when OB Katherine Stevens returned to School to direct a talented cast of Juniors in The Peach Child.
Katherine has recently graduated from Exeter University where she had immersed herself in drama. While at Bancroft’s, she had always been a keen performer, regularly seen treading the boards in School and House productions throughout her Bancroft’s career. Since leaving Bancroft’s, Katherine has worked as an actress, writer, director and producer. She has performed at Exeter’s Northcott Theatre, with London film and theatre company Duelling Productions, produced annual South West arts festival Poltimore Festival two years running, and has most recently assistant directed at the National Theatre, on their youth theatre festival Connections 500.
The traditional Japanese fairytale tells a child discovered inside a giant peach which an elderly woman finds floating down the river when she is washing her clothes. The woman and her husband (played with great sensitivity by Kyril Yeremenka and Benedict Hughes) are overjoyed as they were resigned to their childless state. They name the child Momotaro. Years later Momotaro (a sword wielding Olivia Page) leaves her parents to rid a distant island of a band of ogres. En route Momotaro befriends a hungry dog (Martha Grimsell, communicating so much through yelps and barks), a joke-telling monkey (Georgia Moncur making the most of some very cringeworthy jokes) and a bird. Following a storm at sea, they arrive at the island where they defeat the ogres. Momotaro and friends return home with the ogres’ plundered treasure. And, in the best tradition of fairytales, they all live happily ever after.
This was a magical retelling of the story. Many of the cast seamlessly took on several roles and they used physical theatre techniques to portray a forest, the sea and to create the boat. They all appeared to be totally immersed in retelling the story. Katherine incorporated puppetry into this memorable production and used both music and lighting to create a mystical environment.
Congratulations to all involved.