The boys of Tiffin School are in town and look set to make a huge impact with The Caddington Affair, one of two devised pieces presented by different groups of year 12 A Level students.
The play is grounded in theory, which the boys obviously understand and have been able to apply to creating a complex play.
The show gets off to a supremely confident and hilarious start with a brief speech from a headmaster, superbly characterised by Joe Tyler Todd, who maintains this high standard of performance throughout the play in other roles. After this formal introduction, it all starts to go crazy – this production is a fine example of theatre of the absurd, on which the boys have clearly done their homework. In creating this play, they’ve they focused on the central concepts of the genre: the breakdown of communication and the control of individuals by external forces.
Accordingly, the play has a prominent individual, The Writer, who is faced with penning one final story in his series of murder mysteries. Short of ideas, he decides to call upon the Muses to help him. Enter the external forces. The Muses, however, rather than being under his control and focused on giving him a simple storyline, start to usurp the whole process. Within the context of a series of zany, entangled scenes, the linguistic meltdown marches on to a mesmerising finale. Dramatic devices are mocked whilst being overtly employed and the murder mystery goes through multiple transformations.
Josh Lloyd as The Writer exercises a consummate presence on the stage as he tries to keep control of the mayhem going on around him. His clear voice and precise diction stand out--something some of the other students should focus on developing, as words and lines are sometimes lost. Members of the remaining ensemble give considerable support in many fine performances, not least Daniel Mckeon, whose comic cheekiness is endearing.
Many factors contribute to the success of this production. The play is grounded in theory, which the boys obviously understand and have been able to apply to creating a complex play. They have lots of energy and are passionate about their work and because they are confident and clearly having a great time the audience is able to relax and share in their enjoyment. This production has a wealth of talent, creativity, and intelligence and is a great deal of fun.