Twinkling lights, rousing live music and a sea of jewel-tone clad revellers: these are some freeze-frames of the 2017 Mermaids Christmas Ball. Rarely an event that disappoints, this year was no exception as Kinkell Byre was transformed into a Fairytale of New York. Unlike previous years’ themes this year was not modelled after a film, the committee choosing instead to create a glitzy winter wonderland complete with motifs of the city decorating the space. The New York skyline adorned one wall and recognisable street signs dotted the venue, with miles of fairy lights interwoven between.
The more ancient a play is, the more work must be done to make it relevant. This is the fundamental struggle that any director has working with Greek Tragedy today. Gabriele Uboldi seems relatively unfazed by the concept. To him, that difficulty of making that relevant is basically the central conceit of the entire show.
Some shows don’t revive well.
The Just So Society, having finally ceded to pressure to programme classic musicals, may have hit a bum note in choosing Anything Goes – an immensely talented cast, some gaffs, and some great musical numbers do little to cover the frankly bald excuse for a script and the racial attitudes central to parts of the plot (centering around converting Chinese men to Christianity).
Martin McDonagh’s black comedy ‘The Pillowman’ saw the directorial debut of Mermaids regular Miles Hurley. It was the story of Katurian, a fiction writer living in a totalitarian state, brought in for interrogation about the gruesome content of his short stories and their similarities to a number of graphic child murders occurring in his town.
Jumpers for Goalposts by Tom Wells, charts the progress of a five aside team in an LGBT+ amateur football league. Each scene in the play takes place in the changing room after their games, charting their generally disastrous performances on the field along with their personal developments. While primarily a comedy, there are moments of significant pathos as the play discusses the physical assault of one character over his sexuality and portrays another living with HIV.
The Barron’s got a new seating rack and it’s beautiful.
We’re all back to another semester and another packed Barron season but, as in Shrek 2, ’now…it’s sexy!’.
I had very little idea what to expect from Director Hannah Ritchie’s all-female production of King Lear. It represents her first directing project in St Andrews, and features a cast of proven talent and some new faces. The play is generally considered one of Shakespeare’s finest, but it is also notoriously difficult to stage. It’s very long (uncut it can run as long as four hours), deals with incredibly complex themes, and the role of Lear itself is a challenge even to veteran Shakespearean actors, often seen as the Everest of theatre. With these factors in mind, I was curious to see how well a group of young women could pull this off.
Our Country’s Good Interview
Theresa Rebeck’s Spike Heels went up in the Barron theatre on the 17th and 18th of March without the audience it deserved. Notable for the way in which it handles the issue of sexual harassment alongside its comic underpinnings, the show was definitely a tough sell. Yet, director Addie Gray deftly navigated these issues of workplace harassment and sexual politics, even if she couldn’t avoid the show’s rather divisive ending.