In many ways The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a testing ground for what will become Shakespeare’s toolbox: we have girl dressed as boy (a la Twelfth Night), a set of four lovers (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and we even have a Friar Laurence (Romeo and Juliet). As a work which showcases these early ideas, there is much to be interested in on an academic level. Like most people in the audience of Director Olli Gilford’s production, I had never seen or read the play, nor did I know much about it outside of a Wikipedia entry read in a bout of ‘Shakespeare Fear’. While Gilford is aware of the play’s problems, setting them out in his director’s note, the production did not do enough to compensate for the problematic text, in spite of two standout performances.
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.
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.
The start of spring is fast approaching. Creme eggs, malteaser bunnies and Easter eggs are already appearing in the shops, and our days are getting ever longer. Spring is my favourite season in St Andrews because our daylight hours seem to continue forever, last April I remember setting out on a walk at 8pm expecting it to be dusk by the time I was back; at 9, when I returned home, the sun was still up.
Commenting on society’s unnatural desire to categorise sexuality instead of accepting its apparent fluidity, while exploring the struggle to know oneself in a world obsessed with labels, the recent Wanton Theatre and Saints LGBT+ production of Cock was a resounding success. Revolving around the conflict that arises when its central character, John (Tom Giles), is torn between his long time boyfriend (Angus Russell) and a new, female, romantic interest (Anoushka Kohli), Cock proved to be a brilliantly fast-paced and witty show driven by complex characters.
The play centres around three women in a small Yorkshire community, all coping with scars left by the same man, the almost inhumanly vicious Royce. Dealing with themes of abuse, family, and innocence, it is mostly in monologue, with characters storytelling directly to the audience throughout almost the entire show. The script, written by Richard Cameron, is a gauntlet of intense, emotionally draining vignettes that touch on every element of abuse. This is exemplified in turn by the three characters: Ruby (Eleanor Burke) lives in the shadow of Royce’s emotionalabuse, Jodie (Annabel Steele) is haunted by the memory of his psychological torture, and Lynette (Jen Grace) attempts to cope with his threats of constant physical violence. If one thing about this play is obvious, it is that these three actors deliver tour-de-force performances.
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.
Already feeling the need to burst the bubble? Owl Eyes has the perfect day trip for you for you. Take a short bus ride to Pittenweem and let the sea breezes blow your troubles away! Pittenweem is one of Fife’s beautiful coastal towns and is one of the most active fishing villages in the area. The village is about a 40 minute bus drive from St. Andrews (you’ll want to get on the X60 or 95 buses) and a 20 minute drive by car.
Although I dislike Valentine’s Day, for the commercial scheme it is, I am still a romantic and have a few suggestions of what to do that are not nauseatingly sweet. Whether you’re looking to reignite the spark, woo a new flame, or just go on a wee adventure with the one you love, Scotland has many romantic spots perfect for this special occasion.
Ever needed to know how to tempt your guests to a dinner party in the *Badlands (*Good-lands)?