Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Review - 'I'm Quite Showy. Ostentatious': News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Review - 'I'm Quite Showy. Ostentatious': News

Article excerpt

Fly-on-the-wall series meets students at elite Harrow School.

There is a Tarquin. Of course there is a Tarquin. The latest episode of the fly-on-the-wall documentary Harrow: A Very British School is focusing on school performances: musical, theatrical and choral. But particularly theatrical. And so, of course, there is a Tarquin.

Tarquin is a bit-player, though. For the third episode of the Sky 1 documentary, which charts a year in the life of Pounds 33,285-a-year Harrow School, the limelight belongs to Shrai.

Seventeen-year-old Shrai is the first student in what everyone refers to as "a very long time" to direct his boarding house's annual play. The play is a 1920s farce called Rookery Nook; Shrai says things like, "You're losing the characterisation. Be Gertrude."

Clearly, this is not Educating Yorkshire. Where the Channel 4 series has Kayleigh and Bailey arguing over the fair punishment for being caught smoking on school premises, Harrow has new boy Andreas discussing his role as a music scholar.

"I'm quite showy," the 13-year-old says. "Ostentatious is the word. We learned that in Latin. From 'ostendo' - to show. I show." Pause. "That was really geeky."

There are lots of these asides to camera throughout the programme. Students and teachers are forever asking to start again, or insisting that what they said was all wrong. It is rather endearing, if somewhat mannered.

Andreas is among the choristers auditioning for a solo in the Churchill Songs, an all-school concert held at the Royal Albert Hall in London every five years. …

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