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.
I was undeniably nervous about seeing A Crown of Laurels, the second original musical from the creative partnership of Lavie Rabinovitz and Ryan Hay. The show had been careful to emphasize in its publicity that plot themes revolved around sexual assault, and the atmosphere pervading the audience as we assumed our seats was a kind of subdued intrigue – as it should be. I was happy to realize that the show was to be performed in the round; a tough ask for a two-hander, but one that the musical’s leads tackled with energetic aplomb.
This year’s On The Rocks Festival line-up is bigger and better than ever and we are so excited to bring you coverage of the some of the best art and culture in St Andrews. Running from 5th to 14th of April, the biggest student-run festival in the UK will be showcasing the best of the town’s talent and we hope to see many of our readers there. We know that we will be trying to cram in as much of the programme as possible.
On a grey Saturday in a St Andrews November, I faced the elements to experience On the Rocks’ new venture, On The Pebbles. The student-run arts festival had wished to expand their presence beyond their ten day festival in April. Thus, On The Pebbles was born. It was a fusion of St Andrews University’s creative elements and talents in a new, interesting and extremely enjoyable way.
Have you ever read an Agatha Christie novel and wished that you could have lived through it in real life? Have you always thought that, had you been there, you would have known whodunnit? Well, the opportunity to live this dream is closer than you think…
I was talking to a friend of mine last week, who was working as one of the technicians for Sweeney Todd, who told me that the show contained over 300 lighting cues, significant numbers of sound cues, an absurd number of costumes, a strong makeup department, as well as a full orchestra pit. It shouldn’t surprise you, then, when I say that Sweeney Todd cannot be done by a uni troupe perfectly. Resource restrictions dictate that it can’t be. But it is shocking, in the way that many St Andrews productions often are, that this production of Sweeney got as close as it did. Warts and all, Sweeney Todd was an example of what a great show in the Byre can be.
Don’t be misled by this play’s title; it deals with much more than physics or physicists. The show was performed in its original German (a delight as a mother-tongue German speaker) with English subtitles. Dürrenmatt’s dark absurdist comedy tackles the ethics and structures of science, madness and power. In the Director’s Note, the directors acknowledge the challenge in staging this “fiercely moral yet absurdist piece” and bringing it into the 21st century, a challenge they wonderfully mastered.
The St Andrews Revue exists as the University’s only standing sketch comedy troupe. The improv comedy group Blind Mirth gives the form a go during each On The Rocks Festival, as does the Comedy Society, yet The Revue is the only student group committed to the form. Unlike the other two groups, they are not affiliated with the Union.