Soham Grammarian Festival issue, Summer 1951
"THE MERCHANT OF VENICE"
On Wednesday and Thursday, 27th and 28th June, Form IIIA gave an admirable performance of scenes from Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice." The show was originally intended to be given in the open air but unluckily the rain prevented that.
The production was very commendable, especially the stage management, which was after the style of Shakespeare's day. The play opened with the appearance of a boy with a placard telling the audience the scene of the action. No curtains were used and the scenery consisted of one backcloth only and very few properties. Naturally the women's parts were played by boys in the tradition of the Elizabethan stage.
The performance of the principals was creditable - that of N. Elton as Portia and A. South as Shylock were especially good. Elton spoke his lines distinctly and full of feeling, and he actually looked like a girl in his wig and make-up. South was really good in his spirited argument with Bassanio in the Court scene. His rendering of the part was helped exceedingly by his superb make-up.
R. Lane (Antonio) and J. Scotting (Bassanio) gave good interpretations of their parts. Most of the smaller characters were acted well; the only criticism is that quite often their speeches lacked something in individuality and force. They should remember that a good performance is often marred when a boy smiles at a member of the audience. However, it was a very good performance all round and the chief praise must undoubtedly go to Mr. Waller, who produced the play.
If you have recollections of this production or photos of it, please contact the editor
page last updated 6 Nov 2007