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.
Satirical, irreverent, and beautifully crafted, Just So’s production of Urinetown (The Musical) burst onto the Byre Stage during this year’s On The Rocks Festival. Directed by Ryan Hay, Urinetown balanced some outstanding set design with a number of solid performances, yet was unfortunately let down due to issues with the show’s audio and a few uneven numbers.
Hedda Gabler is a very hard play to get right. Henrik Ibsen’s late play is about a recently married woman (the titular Hedda) who proceeds to destroy the lives of almost everyone around her for no other apparent reason than she is “bored.” This is where the difficulty comes in: if the tone of the play is misjudged, Hedda (here played by Misha Leggett) can seem like a petulant psychopath, while the play’s other characters come across as stupid. This production had a difficult job to do and it delivered.
Rent has me a bit torn. Flawed, idealistic to the point of irritation and more 90s than a barrel full of furbies, at times it was tough to figure out why the show is so deeply embedded in the psyche of theatre-kids worldwide. Yet, just when you thought you have had enough, the show bursts in brilliance, breaking your heart into five hundred twenty five thousand, six hundred pieces. While the recent Just So Byre production had its issues, it is hard to deny the moments of pure emotion that tent-poled the show.
Pirates of Penzance, one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most famous operettas, played to a sold-out theatre under the guiding hand of director Peter Cushley, in what proved to be a jolly and highly energised production.
Blood Brothers felt like a musical without music. Actually, considering the musical version of Blood Brothers ran for over 20 years in London, most people probably know it as a musical. Following the lives of two brothers – twins separated at birth – the play spans the 1960s and 70s in Liverpool, dealing with themes of connection, loss, love, and class. This week’s production in the Byre Theatre, directed by Seb Bridges, did its best to tackle the complexities of a decades-spanning family drama, and in many ways, it succeeded. However, despite a number of quality performances the play was ultimately limited by a lackluster script.
Green Week has begun! Part of a national week of action on climate change, engaging people in the local community through a week of activities, there is something for every student looking to find a way to make the world a litter greener.
Although St Andrews is referred to as The Bubble, there are more events going on in the small town that one may realize. With Halloween right around the corner, local shops and University societies are eager to get students in a spooky and festive mood. From themed food to night life, there is plenty to keep any Halloween lover occupied. Make sure to clear your calendar because Halloween 2015 is horror-packed:
In student drama, next week is a big one, with the St Andrews premiere of Equus, Peter Shaffer’s haunting drama on what is literally our town’s biggest stage, the Byre Theatre. The play, a startling, almost supernatural story of a boy who suddenly blinds six horses in a stable, and the combination of psychological factors that got him there, shows on the 13th and 14th of October. Owl Eyes interviewed the director, Alexander Gillespie, to learn about what it’s like at the helm of this grand play.