Portsmouth High School girls have received a 5 star review at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Their play, The Penelopiad, by Margaret Atwood, received critical acclaim from The Edinburgh Reporter.
‘Having read the praise from others on social media, anticipation of this show by this Portsmouth all-female theatre group of 16-18 year olds was high,’ said the Edinburgh Reporter. ‘I’m pleased to report the performance exceeded expectations. The polished performances of the girls fully embrace Atwood’s brilliance, making the piece their own.’
The Penelopiad, Atwood’s retelling of The Odyssey from Penelope’s perspective, afforded plenty opportunity for creative vitality as Penelope and the ghosts of her wronged maids (all cruelly hanged after Odysseus’s return) multi-role and employ a range of dynamic strategies, in words, movement and song, to tell of Penelope’s birth in Sparta, her relationship with Helen, her arranged marriage and her long wait for Odysseus’ return from the Trojan Wars.
The girls performed to sell out audiences over five days of the festival and enjoyed the experience of being part of the largest arts festival in the world.
‘Performing at the fringe has been like no other experience,’ said Alpha Perry, 16. ‘Being given the opportunity to be part of something so iconic is indescribable. The companionship between performers is something I never expected but has been a lovely addition to the vibrant atmosphere of the festival.
‘We were all delighted with the performances of The Penelopiad. We had sell-out performances and a 5 star review so we couldn’t ask for more. We are all so proud of our piece and after months of rehearsals it is really gratifying to get such incredible feedback from our audience.’
Outgoing Head Girl, Genevieve Wilks, 18, said:
‘This experience has been the best way to end my time at Portsmouth High School. I’ve had the best time with all the girls and putting on the show all week has been just superb. An experience I’ll never forget.’
Sixth Former, Abi Harindra, 17, added:
‘I couldn’t be happier with how our trip turned out. From our own sold out shows to seeing some of the most amazing theatre and music I’ve ever witnessed, I really could not have asked for anything more to conclude my Portsmouth High School years.’
‘This has been the perfect setting and group for my final Portsmouth High School show,’ said Elizabeth Faulkner, 18. ‘The atmosphere has been incredible; in our own full shows and in all the other incredible and diverse shows I’ve been privileged to witness; plays, musicals, circus acts, acapella and comedy. This has been an experience I will never forget.’
And the youngest of the group, Frankie McBride, 16, concluded:
‘The Fringe is a place where creativity knows no bounds. Here, anything goes and I have absolutely loved it. Everyone is so welcoming and the bonds formed between performers are unique. I have come away from this opportunity with many great experiences and unforgettable memories.’