A small band of APs visited Plumstead Manor School to watch the BTEC performance of Tea Mad A Party, a musical performance loosely referencing The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. But first things first…we convened in The Old Mill prior to the event for a libation. Thus, suitably refreshed, we proceeded to the school next door. Originally the plan had been to put on the production in the open air, but the decidedly iffy weather forecast put paid to that, and in the event, it was performed indoors in The Space, which stands on the site of the Prince Albert pub and the Vicarage. This piece of architectural vandalism has resulted in a valuable learning facility for the students of Plumstead Manor School.
Instead of raked seating there were tables set out cabaret style. We were able to bag the last completely free table. Soon we were offered tea and cake, before the performance began. There was no story as such, rather a series of vignettes, with plenty of breaking of the fourth wall as the actors moved around the audience and interacted with them throughout the performance. Several intervals allowed for more pouring out of tea and bringing round of cake, which was a pleasant diversion. The young actors acquitted themselves well, so that I was left with the impression that had they been given more demanding material to work with they could have risen to the occasion.
At the end of the performance we all peeled off to our respective homes. Everyone had enjoyed themselves, not least of all the young actors and front of house staff. For £5 it had been worth getting out of the house to watch live performance and music in a local setting. And there was plenty of tea and cake.