The cloisters at St Benedict’s at Ealing in west London was the setting for this year’s school production of A Kind of Loving, directed by Katie Ravenscroft.
Based on the 1960 novel of the same name by Stan Barstow the play focuses on the social and historical context of life in the north.
In A Kind of Loving, the main characters, Vic and Ingrid, meet and fall in love. When the inevitable unplanned pregnancy follows, along with a hasty marriage, they have to move into Ingrid’s home and their fate seems sealed. Living with the in-laws proves almost to be the breaking point in an already faltering relationship.
Matthew Roberts, 17, gave a towering performance as Vic. On stage for almost the entire two and half hours he was able to portray the gamut of emotions facing the protagonist with a maturity beyond his years.
Hester Sharman played Ingrid, the “siren of the typing pool”. Jonathan Cheriyan played the role of Mrs Rothwell, “the mother-in-law from hell”, with astonishing skill. Dressed in fake fur, beehive and a pink twin-set he was compelling, with a dismissive “tut” here, an arched eyebrow there and looks which could kill.
Max Kentish played Mr van Huyten, comically slicking back an eyebrow as he advanced mantis-like upon an unsuspecting female customer.
The entire cast tackled the dialect effectively, most notably Sebastian Umrigar (Mr Brown) with booming gusto and Georgia Lambert (Dorothy) with her gossiping manner and all-knowing strut. Musical performances from backing singers and band added a dimension to the production with songs from the 1960s.
Julie Greenhough, English teacher at St Benedict’s School, said: “With Britain having the highest teenage pregnancy rate amongst OECD developed countries and with more than half of twentysomething young men in Britain still living with their parents maybe it is more pertinent than we realise.
“Perhaps it is time to get the novel back into print.”