In a dramatic departure from last year’s Death of a Salesman, this semester Caelan Mitchell-Bennett has teamed up with Just So to bring us Sondheim’s classic fairy-tale musical, Into the Woods. It’s a challenging show to take on, made up of interweaving plotlines (some more relevant than others) and two very disparate halves. It’s a credit to Mitchell-Bennett’s talent and versatility, and that of his team, that they pulled off such a greatly enjoyable performance.
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.
When you take on a play as famous and beloved as Oscar Wilde’s wonderful comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, you are setting yourself up for a challenge. While the writing can almost carry a production by itself, the actors are competing against Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Judi Dench and Reese Witherspoon in many imaginations, and perhaps David Suchet-in-drag in others. Add to this the fact that the StAge is just not a good space for theatre (at least not when used conventionally), and this production team were giving themselves a very difficult task. Unfortunately, it wasn’t one they could meet.
It would be difficult to overstate how excited I was to hear that Little Women would be the Just So freshers’ production. This is one of the most underrated musicals of all time: a quirky, irresistibly heartfelt adaptation of Alcott’s classic novel packed with songs you’ll keep singing for weeks.
Looking around the room, one could feel the celebration of African culture at the second annual fashion showcase, Ubuntu. Guests followed the dress code of “regally bold,” wearing bright blues and purples and bold prints representing the styles of countries throughout Africa. The St Andrews Afro-Caribbean Society hosted and honed in on all the details, decking out the Stage in colourful patterns as guests were greeted with tables covered in the beautiful designs that they were encouraged to wear.
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.
Because of the show’s emphasis on audience choice, Owl Eyes has chosen to send two reviewers to capture different experiences of the show. Each review will have its own rating.
Our Country’s Good Interview
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.