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R C Sherriff was an old boy of Kingston Grammar School who, having found considerable success as a playwright and screenwriter, bought the land for the school’s boathouse and helped fund its construction. Each year the Sherriff Club hosts a fund raising evening in his honour to raise money for the Sherriff Club. This has been anything from a stage production of sketches and songs to a quiz night with fish and chip supper.
This year we staged excerpts from a new play about his life, and specifically the writing of his most famous play, Journey's End, which we hope to be staging in conjunction with the Rose Theatre in 2014 as part of the World War 1 centenary commemorations. We also revealed the final fundraising total from the Sponsored Row, presented prizes to our most successful fundraisers, and screened the wonderful video produced by Ted Parsons. We also, of course, had a fantastic selection of songs with a rowing theme - many of them written this year by our talented rowers.
This year’s Sheriff Night marked something of a departure from previous events. MCs (and Boathouse captains) Robbie Mallett and Ella Barnard explained at the beginning of the evening that the familiar pattern - dramatised excerpts from R C Sherriff’s writing, interspersed with popular songs given a rowing twist - would be taken a step further with the production of an entire musical about love across the sporting divide, between a rower and a hockey player.
On this occasion the Sherriff drama was on the dark side, taken from a movie regarded by critics as one of the best British movies ever made - Odd Man Out - about a terrorist on the run in a big city. The scenes in the first half of the evening were grippingly acted by rowers from the 4th with Ben Cave as Johnny and Fergal Dunn as Nolan particularly strong , although very ably supported by Dougie Carr, Mark Berrow, Chloe Waller and Lydia Cozens. The baton was taken up splendidly in the second half of the evening by 5th Form rowers, including Joao Harrison as the wounded Johnny, and James Stuart, Alex Browning and Lydia Davis as his ne-er do well acquaintances.
The new musical - Blades - featured a cast of 6th Formers, with Lawrence Peirson very persuasive as a rower who couldn’t turn his hand to any other sports, despite the blandishments of his girlfriend Sindy, played - with a very authentic American accent - by Sophie Kenneally. The supporting cast was very strong, but special mention needs to be made of Patrick Beeley - who made a very fetching femme fatale (as bad girl Patty) - and Ali Middleton, Hannah Marsters and Sophie Crocker who did a hilarious turn as KGSBC coaches Phil, Cled and Tim (also written by Ali and Hannah who additionally directed the entire musical production. Songs of the evening included Winter Rowing (Summer Loving), Hopelessly Devoted to Crew (......to You, in the original!), and Ergo (Sandy).
The songs were performed with gusto by the entire cast, including over 80 junior and senior rowers, who also performed an enthusiastic musical tribute - Go Didi, to the tune of Greased Lightning - to the departing Mr Smalman-Smith and his wife, shortly to leave for their epic Atlantic crossing.
The general excitement of the evening was admirably captured by the Head, Mrs Fletcher, who received a resounding ovation for her announcement of the school’s commitment to renovating the Boathouse in the coming year in such spectacular fashion.
Special thanks to Jackie Steinitz for co-ordinating the evening’s music and to the Sherriff Club Committee members who organised such a tempting buffet, and efficient bar!
Sherriff Night and Rowers' Revue 2011
Sherriff Night has now become a quiz and fish and chip evening at the school. Our quiz masters test the knowledge of the assembled teams in 10 fiercely contested rounds, covering everything from cartoon characters to rowing knowledge. Fish and chips from Fish! in Norbiton provide a delicious dinner to fuel the teams. A fun night all round and a great way to raise extra funds for the boat house.
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