Sudbury pupils’ Spelling Bee performance was rip-roaringly funny

Lily Atkinson's solo in Ormiston Sudbury Academy's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ANL-160125-131948001
Lily Atkinson's solo in Ormiston Sudbury Academy's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ANL-160125-131948001

‘Pupils’ Spelling Bee was rip-roaringly funny’

I, along with the rest of the audience, was left bent over double laughing, with tears in my eyes for much of the comedy-musical.

Jasmine Hodgson's solo during Ormiston Sudbury Academy's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ANL-160125-131914001

Jasmine Hodgson's solo during Ormiston Sudbury Academy's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ANL-160125-131914001

Having watched the school’s performance of Oliver last year both myself and my other-half were excited to see Darrell Barnard-Jones - who played William Barfee (and you’d better pronounce it correctly!) -return to the stage after starring previously as Fagan.

Barnard-Jones was again excellent, superbly funny in his solos and again never letting his character slip, but this year he was matched by so many of the cast members who came exclusively from Years 11, 12 and 13, due to the more adult content.

The only downside to the performance is that sadly this review comes too late.

There were only two showings, meaning unfortunately many of you will never get the chance to watch what was one of the most enjoyable performances I have seen on any stage, professional or not.

Ormiston Sudbury Academy's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ANL-160125-131924001

Ormiston Sudbury Academy's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ANL-160125-131924001

The story sees six young spelling boffins take on the county spelling bee in fictional Putnam.

In an unusual twist they are joined on stage by four unlucky members of the public for the competition.

The result is pure madness. With an unpredictable outcome from the spelling questions, one of the ‘victims’ got a seemingly impossible word correct, leading to much merriment and resulting in ad-lib brilliance.

Here Cameron Sawyer, who was quite possibly the star of the show, was hilarious.

Tristan Sayers (left) supports one of the audience participants during Ormiston Sudbury Academy's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ANL-160125-131935001

Tristan Sayers (left) supports one of the audience participants during Ormiston Sudbury Academy's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ANL-160125-131935001

Playing spelling bee judge Vice Principal Douglas-Panch, his timing was always perfect and his dead-pan face didn’t break once, despite his one-liners leaving the rest of us struggling for breath.

How his fellow judge Rona Lisa Perretti, Lila Robirosa, kept a straight face I’ll never know. Especially as her mother was one of the unlucky audience members pulled up on stage.

Robirosa’s voice was outstanding, indeed the level of performance from the whole cast was impressive with big ‘dream’ numbers and outrageous dance scenes, even Jesus drops by. You really do have to see it to believe it.

The word ‘erection’ will have those fortunate enough to have watched the show sniggering over the paper I’m sure.

Olivia May's solo during Ormiston Sudbury Academy's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ANL-160125-132000001

Olivia May's solo during Ormiston Sudbury Academy's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ANL-160125-132000001

There were more sombre moments too. Jasmine Hodgson, playing timid Olive Oastovsky, left the audience speechless with her stunning solo.

All of the characters, particularly the core cast, were so professional. With so much to see your eyes were often drawn to the back of the stage, away from where the main action was happening.

There the cast would be fully immersed in their roles, their individual characteristics, twitches and personalities being played out at all times.

To all the cast and crew I would like to say congratulations and thank you for such a brilliant production and good luck to those Year 13s moving on to bigger and better things.

For a final send off you put on quite a show.

Darrell Barnard-Jones in Ormiston Sudbury Academy's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ANL-160125-132013001

Darrell Barnard-Jones in Ormiston Sudbury Academy's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ANL-160125-132013001