Bolton School Senior Boys

Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations

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The Lower School Production of Alan Ayckbourn’s comic play was both a delight and great success. The boys delivered a slick and purposeful performance, but clear enjoyment from all was also evident. Ernie Fraser, a young boy, has an active imagination, but, to the horror of his family, his ‘illucinations’ have a tendency to turn into reality. When, for instance, Ernie wonders what would happen if a squad of soldiers were to turn up at his front door, having been tipped off about a secret radio transmitter, inevitably hilarious moments ensue. In sheer desperation, Ernie’s parents consult with a doctor and attempt to explain the strange events that have been occurring (mountaineering in a local library, secret agents, a boxing granny...!), but all does not go to plan. 

A vibrant and lively cast were crucial to the play’s success. Owais Khan relished the opportunity to open the play in the role of a German officer, who threatened that the audience would ‘never be seen again’ if they did not turn off their mobile phones! Ernie was expertly played in a bright and knowingly mischievous manner by Marcus Ashall-Payne and he was well supported by Matthew Settle and Thomas Hothersall in the role of Ernie’s parents. The repartee between the two was highly amusing with Thomas, the gruff and broad Northerner alongside Matthew’s elderly and rather fussy character. 

Luke Pek portrayed the rather world-weary doctor very well, with his initial interest soon bordering on impatience as he sought to dispense with the family in place of his full waiting room of what appeared to be particularly flu-ridden patients. Another stand-out performance was that of Finley Littlefair, Ernie’s elderly Auntie May, who appeared to enjoy getting into a feminine and extrovert role. Ernie is determined to watch a boxing bout at a local funfair, much to his Auntie’s chagrin. However, Ernie is shocked when his Auntie then challenges the ruling champion and goes on to win the bout! 

The supporting cast added a real sense of fun to the play, with several boys taking on a variety of roles. The Fairground Touts were particularly convincing in persuading the crowds of the spectacles and acts available at the fair, and acted with both confidence and sheer enjoyment. 

Miss Holroyd, as director and producer, chose a fun and engaging play, perfectly suited to the cast, who all pulled off a great performance with aplomb. Thanks must also go to several other colleagues, who were also involved in the production.

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