The Thursday night of the On The Rocks Festival saw Blind Mirth’s 21st Anniversary performance. Improv is a new territory for me, so I was hesitant about what was in store. Truth be told, a couple of things worried me. First, I was worried about the idea of audience participation, something I loathe both in theory and practice. Second, I was worried I wouldn’t find it funny, based on some of last year’s reviews, and the fairly empty theatre.
The coming of a New Year’s On the Rocks can bring with it a host of new events, with more theatre, art and music than you could shake a stick at –but a guaranteed staple has always been the Blind Mirth Sketch Show. Typically, an improv comedy group, once a year during OTR, Blind Mirth turns their talents to sketch comedy writing, bringing their wit to the masses on the Byre main stage. This year’s production, Mirth Control, while funny, lacked some of the charm of previous shows, occasionally over using tired tropes that seemed more suited to the 1970s.
Hosted in conjunction with the Lumsden Club in St. Andrews’ Byre Theatre, the evening brought to a close the vast range of events which took place in the annual week of On the Rocks festivities. The evening began with a wine reception and a chance to chat to not only the ladies of the Lumsden Club, but also the members of the acts who would be performing later on in the evening as well as regular guests.
Week one is officially here and though Freshers’ week might be over there’s still plenty going on to keep you occupied. While this semester’s new plays are yet to be performed why not check out Blind Mirth’s first improv comedy show of the year. If comedy is your thing ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’ is a tragicomedy that defies expectations offering a new angle on the theme of films like ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. On TV this week ‘The Gamechangers’, featuring Daniel Radcliffe, explores the hugely popular Grand Theft Auto game series, the boundaries it pushed and the opposition it came up against. Just as controversial is David Lagercrantz’s ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’. Written as an addition to Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy the novel pays homage and seems to leave room for more. If you want to share your story this week, head down to Aikman’s for Inklight’s first open mic poetry session.
After a hectic few weeks of deadlines, Week 10 is approaching at a much slower pace with plenty of ways to relax. If you need a little light-heartedness in your life, Blind Mirth are back in the Barron for a free night of the best improv comedy. BBC2’s new documentary on the Mekong River is just as entertaining as Sue heads along the river to its source while depicting the effects of renewable energy on the lives of those who live off the river. Both the film and book of choice this week celebrate the lives of two great figures in the Second World War. ‘The Imitation Game’ depicts the turbulent life of enigma code breaker Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) who received a posthumous royal pardon for his charge of indecency only last year. George Prochnik’s biography of Stefan Zweig, Austria’s most celebrated writer and the inspiration for Wes Anderson’s ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’, records another turbulent life of a man forced into exile by Hitler’s regime. And this week’s art showcase, with free wine, is bringing everything back down to earth with all proceeds from the art sold going towards local projects.
Although most of us have spent our summer away from the Bubble, Mermaids has been holding down the fort in order to prepare for this year’s Fringe Festival. In fact, people like Fringe Rep Lottie Barker have been working with these productions since January to sort out the oh-so-fun insurance, payment, and publicity details. In between all of that, she managed to squeeze us in for a chat about the upcoming festival.
It occurred to me, waiting outside Venue 2 last night, that I had absolutely no idea what to expect from Vaudeville Spectacular and the confusing array of costumes parading by made me think I could’ve been at anything. Billed as a ‘late-night showcase’ whisking us away to the ‘seedy glamour of the 1920s nightclub cabaret’ Vaudeville Spectacular was keeping their acts quiet. Behind the mysterious doors, tables were set up as in an old school Berlin nightclub, complete with fake candles, flowers, waiters in bow-ties to bring you your drinks, and live piano.
I love my porridge. A nice hot bowl of creamy, oaty goodness, a mug of coffee and an episode of Frasier is all that stops me hurling myself out the window every morning at the thought of another day chipping away at my 100,000 deadlines.