An Enthralling Evening of Entertainment!


Every Trick in the Book most certainly lived up to its title - a masterly mix of genre and medium: crime fiction; 1940s cinema; American courtroom drama; and the very best traditions of the SIS Play – providing for three hours of pure entertainment at the Carré Belle-Feuille with stellar performances from its lead actors, Adrien de Sainty, Elisabeth Gilbert, Mathurin Gatté, Patrick O’Mahoney, Charles Gilbert, and supporting cast and crew.

This year’s play was compelling drama from the very opening scene, with Lyra Chandler’s murder performed onstage and then echoed in the filmed sequence onscreen, establishing the mood of mystery as we witness the clown-culprit stealing away into the woods. Other skilful cinematographic touches included the news broadcasts from Castor City, archival footage of the Korean war and ‘How to recognise a communist’ propaganda, and the filmed and narrated sequence of the arrival of the hard-boiled detective John Book, driving towards Castor city. This was a beautifully rendered homage to film noir and the archetype of the disillusioned, cynical detective, a lone figure up against a corrupt society and politics, but a complex soul who will not be entirely invulnerable to the femme fatale (both pitch-perfectly played by Adrien de Sainty and Elisabeth Gilbert).

Ruairi McCann’s original script was nothing short of brilliant: the witty, razor-sharp ironies and the running joke on Book’s name never missed a beat and the story was punctuated with striking imagery from the sludge of the ‘swamp’ to lovers gazing at the constellations in the night sky. The attention to language and character went far beyond what one would expect from a school play - the dialogue was steeped in idioms straight out of the world of the crime novel, “God have mercy on my soul! The court jester defends the commie clown. I’m a dead man!” and audiences delighted in the wonderful cast of impeccably-drawn characters, from the hotshot lawyer from New York, Buffone (Patrick O’Mahoney was born for this role!) to the feckless Stanley Redmond, the leader of the miner’s union caught in the middle of a political intrigue and love-triangle, and the ‘you- love-to-hate’ capitalist Samuel Swan who gets his comeuppance, along with all of the unforgettable characters in the trial, news, and FBI scenes. The relationship between Book and Jimmy, the orphan newsboy, was most endearing and who could resist the sentimental and moral triumph at the end of the story when the cub-reporters determined to become cub-detectives?

Audiences on both nights were unanimous in their feeling that with Every Trick in the Book Ruairi has catapulted the The Play to stratospheric heights. His orchestration this year of SIS talent was extraordinary: on top of the many hours of weekend rehearsals, there was the extra filming and editing throughout the winter months, the incredible video production by Nina Morgan, the intensive preparation of the musicians, singers and dancers led by Alex Bilau, Alexandre Prudent and Laurène Aumonier, not to mention all the West Virginia accents the actors had to learn! All came together by opening night to create the alchemy for what has been called by an SIS parent, ‘one of the most entertaining evenings all year’.

Recalling the memorable lines spoken by John Book at the beginning of the play, «What I do like are the stars in the night sky, and the truth. Hopefully I’ll get a glimpse of both while I’m down here.» I think we all can all agree that ‘Every Trick in the Book’ provided an impressive showcase of the veritable bright lights of the SIS. Great thanks and a standing ovation for Ruairi, the producers and all the students!                   Long live The Play!!

Review by Betty Lau, Head of English

Par : Cornell-Pouret le 26/03/2018


Les dates à retenir pour l’année scolaire 2018-2019
a été un grand succès !
We still have available places in several classes.