'A Man For All Seasons' at St Mary's RC School, Menston

9:36am Thursday 15th February 2007

By Val Pennett

A Man For All Seasons' is a about Sir Thomas More, Chancellor of England who refused to support King Henry Vlll's divorce from Catherine of Aragon in order to marry his mistress Anne.

Because of his faith and conviction More was eventually imprisoned in the Tower of London for supposed High Treason.

This is a difficult play for adults to perform let alone teenagers and although very wordy and rather long it was a worthy challenge for these young people.

A cast of 13 performed in the school's drama studio on a level with their audience and very close to them and when not performing sat on either side of the hall.

The room being very wide there were times when voices were lost. It is so important these days, particularly now when microphones are mostly in use, that when they are not young people learn how to project their voices.

There were some excellent performances. Megan McGrath as Common Man, jack of all trades and narrator if you like, gave an adept and imaginative performance. Moving props around, changing costume and generally directing her thoughts to the audience with indifference.

Joe Murphy had the mam-moth role of Thomas More, quiet, self-contained and terribly affected at having to leave his wife and daughter, he coped with all the challenges of the role.

His wife Alice and daughter Margaret were well played by Johanna Rhodes and Kate Brady respectively.

The scheming Richard Rich, More's assistant, was played by Tom McNulty and The Duke of Norfolk by Patrick Kirkham.

The girls in male roles were all excellent, it did not seem to matter at all that they were male characters. The performance of Sinead Fisher as Cromwell was a revelation. She had just the right approach to this character, poise, control, a cyni-cal delivery of her lines and an expertise in the timing and pauses needed to make an audience listen.

An exceptional performance.

The scenes between Cromwell and More were played with conviction and intensity.

Eleanor Dickinson and Julia Brown played the roles of Cardinal Wolsey and Chapuys and the flamboyant King Henry Vlll was played by Daniel Bendjel-loul.

Other roles were played by Jacob Matthews, Jennifer Warhurst and Sam McKay.

Lighting was very effective, the staging sparse but adequate and there was appropriate music throughout composed and performed by Nathan Comer.

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