The community at Ranby House School will be familiar with the pupils in Year 3 and 4. They may have been spotted in the science lab, the art classroom, or maybe even queueing for lunch. Last week, however, we saw the pupils in a completely different light – we saw something that has never been done before, from Ranbians of past or present. We saw them starring in a world premiere.
The Red Slippers premiered on Thursday 16th March – the first time an audience would be graced by a tale so rich in themes of power and love. During the debut of the play, which is loosely based on an Egyptian fairy tale, there was no shortage of enthusiasm and energy. With a grounding yet amusing thread provided by the Egyptian Gods as storytellers, played by Megan, Jack, Darcey, Evie, Aya, Bella, Oliver, Jack and Anya, we are carried through the tale of a slave, whose only possession are some red slippers.
Rhapdosis, who is beautifully portrayed by actress Francesca, has had these slippers for as long as she can remember, and treasures them with her whole heart. Her rendition of Slippers of Red was euphonious, summoning goosebumps to spread over the entire audience. She and her fellow slaves, played by Anya, Harriet, Peter, Millie, Lilly, Charlotte, Charlie, Jacques, Hugo, Evangeline, and Ava, work tirelessly in the heat for the Evil Master Ur, who is hilariously played by Violet.
Elsewhere in Egypt, which is convincingly bought to Retford through props and staging, there is a treasure obsessed Pharoah, played by Rupert. He has been handed one of the beautiful red slippers by a group of scheming birds. Although mischievous and cunning, there was no option but to laugh at their squawking and their flapping – a special mention to William, Barney, Charlie, Freddie, Jude and Sammy, who had the audience in stitches.
Once handed the red slipper, Pharoah is set on finding its owner, as he is convinced she will be rich. He tasks his cheeky sidekick Vizier, played by Archie, with finding the owner. Pharoah stays back at the Palace, being looked after by his servants, wonderfully played by Alfred, William, Arthur, Ava, Logan, Arthur, Lizzie, Aran, Eve, Evelyn, Mia, Max and Pranaya.
In the depths of an Egyptian marketplace, Vizier is hunting for clues. Here is where he meets many interesting characters, including fish sellers, spell sellers, Mystic Meg and more – each with an interesting offering and a convincing sales pitch. Ruben, Jack, Penelope, Florence, Henry, Jessica, Mason, Matthew, Henry, George, William, and Eva, perfectly bought the hustle and bustle of a market to the PAC.
What better way to end a world premier than a happy ending? The Vizier finds Rhapdosis, realising she is not rich, but loving her regardless. Ending a show packed with toe-tapping music, was an entire cast performance of Welcome to Egypt, which had the audience on their feet.
If the children’s performance skills weren’t enough to impress, then knowing that the entire production was written and directed by staff from Ranby House! Victoria Evans, Teacher of Drama and Public Speaking, put together the whole script, while Ashley Thompson, Director of Music, wrote and performed the entire score. He, alongside Max, Christian and Evangeline, played through the full show. The production was directed by Miss Mason and Miss Harvey, who put their all into making it a showstopper, and did just that.
Headmaster, David Thorpe, was part of the lucky few who secured a ticket to the performance debut. He told us, “It is a very proud moment for a Head to watch an entire audience thoroughly enjoy a school production that has been completely put-together in-house. A huge thank you to the talented staff who willingly wrote the entire production including creating all music and lyrics for pupils in Year 3 and 4 to perform. The children were amazing, all carefully coached by their teachers and supporting one another to feel confident to perform in front of a large audience. From delivering simple one-liners, to standing up and singing a solo, every child played their part fantastically. A huge thank you to everyone involved in making this World Premiere of Ranby’s The Red Slippers such an amazing experience for all our children and those fortunate enough to see it.”