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Play hits the bulls-eye

Last month was a big one for Kuranui College – as the students put on their first major school production since 2019.

The students’ performance of Robin Hood, written and directed by Head of Drama Juanita McLellan, was a fresh and hilarious perspective on an older-than-sliced-bread story.

The play followed the titular Robin Hood [James Moorland], as he returned from the Crusades to find himself homeless and destitute, only to join forces with the Merry Men and their uprising against the ruthless Sheriff. We had the classic plot beats such as the over-taxation, archery competition, and ever-relevant class struggle – as well as an appearance from “Fryer” Tuck and some KFC. And Shakespeare. And a sassy secretary. In classic Kuranui College fashion, Robin Hood was modern, snappy, and easy for audiences to enjoy.

The students worked tirelessly to make the production happen: Attending holiday rehearsals, constructing props at home, hanging lights, and frantically pinning people into costumes. Behind the scenes, the energy could only be described as manic, with an edge of excitement.

Post-covid productions always have the threat of sudden cancellation or illness looming over them – and the exemplary work of understudies was much appreciated.

Audiences loved the contemporary humour mixed with the classic tale. The custom-made stocks were a real treat, and the lighting tech was phenomenal. Children at the matinee were ecstatic over the stick fight between Little John [Joseph Laybourn] and Robin, and swooned over the flouncy skirts of the even flouncier Maid Marion [played by Katherine Taylor].

Another notable moment was secretary Denise [Jasmine Loveday], snapping and brandishing a knife at employers as she quit in a downright Shakespearean monologue – a familiar daydream for office workers everywhere. In fact, the Bard himself made an appearance, played by Head Boy Joshua Wiegman in a wig he was allergic to, spouting sonnets left and right.

We got some great feedback – people said, “you could really feel the heart and enthusiasm that went into this performance”. My sister’s boyfriend, who doesn’t usually like theatre, even said, “yeah, it was good.”

Due to the lack of prior performances because of covid, this was many students’ first big production. It was a fun way to end a hard year and open the door to future shows.

The audience was riotous, and the cast and crew were electric. Here’s to many more shows from Kuranui and its outstanding drama department.

Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall is the editor of the Wairarapa Midweek. She has been a journalist for the past 10 years, and has a keen interest in arts, culture, social issues, and community justice.

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