It’s odd to talk about this play because it is fundamentally very odd. Blink is, for better or for worse, a Wes Anderson movie taken to the stage. There’s an attention to detail here that reminds me of that director’s work, not to mention a lot of music ripped straight from Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom. Its tone is, for lack of a better word, decidedly quirky, reveling in its weirdness with a smile and a wink. But with all that entertaining goofiness, the show doesn’t let us sit with its heart enough to leave a major impact on the audience.
At its core, Lucy Prebble’s The Effect asks its audience a question – are we defined by the chemicals in our system? Directed by Louis Catliff, breaking out of his comfort zone as St Andrews Go-to-guy for 20TH Century American drama, the show alternates between the stories of Tristan (Oli Savage) and Connie (Jen Grace), who volunteers in a depression medication trial. The psychiatrist and drug company representative, Dr James (Valentine Moscovici) and Toby (Ebe Bamgboye), are overseeing the operation. In equal measures, funny and heart wrenching, Catliff’s production is certainly one of this semester’s highlights, even if it cannot fully circumvent some slight issues with the script’s ending.
On the evening of Wednesday 15th of October, I went to see the showcase for female talent in St Andrews: ‘Women in the Arts’. As a fresher, it was the first event of its kind which I’ve seen so far in my time here, and I must admit it will be hard for other performances to live up to such a wonderful night of entertainment.
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Had you ever heard of Gallathea before this year’s On The Rocks festival? Nor had I, and neither had the director. Nevertheless, Ben Anderson has managed to turn an old fashioned tale of virgin sacrifice and Shakespearean gender confusion into a fairly entertaining hour and a half with a modern edge.
Dark and twisting, On The Rocks presents Contractions, a comedy about love, relationships and control. We caught up with the production team, to tell us a little bit more.
We are ushered into the theatre by a stern sounding ‘guard’ and given the barked instructions “not to disturb the prisoner”. The Barron is as bare as ever, save for the ‘prisoner’ sitting silently on the floor: Harriet, Duchess of Buckingham (played by Helena Jacques-Morton). Of course we don’t know who this is yet, but before the play has properly begun the atmosphere is already grim and dark, and sets the tone for the rest of the performance. The identity of the prisoner is revealed once it begins, and we learn of Harriet’s impending fate and the events that led to her imprisonment.
A few, joyous things – perennial drizzle, crumbly 1950s buildings, being known as ‘the posh Sarah’ – spring to mind about sixth form. My suburban, Adrian Mole-style grandiosity aside, one forever embarrassing memory is of absolutely loving Othello, which I studied for A Level English Lit. Hearing that everyone’s favourite Cyprus-based jealousy fest, directed by Benji Bailey, would be performed from 12th-14th February, I was determined that no other pseudo-intellectual, minor student reviewer would get there first.
St Andrews is full of talent, but with her latest play Wolf Whistle, Joanna Alpern takes it up a notch. Under the direction of Katherine Weight, this story of three seemingly unconnected women comes together in a way that is deeply emotional, hilarious, and chilling, and had me leaving the theatre with goosebumps.