Last week saw the end of lectures and seminars and also the end of the French Society’s calendar of events. An active and well-attended society, the conclusion to the year was offered by a wonderful evening of theatre and, naturally, wine and cheese in Parliament Hall. A crowd-pleasing combination, the soirée proved to be a roaring success, with impressive acting, some classy live music and more than enough fromage to go around.
“We are what we always were in Salem…”
With the performance of Twelfth Night which took place in the StAge on the 10thof April as part of the On The Rocks Festival, Shakespeare’s beloved comedy has now been performed every year in St Andrews for the last four years. This, however, was definitely the most unique and, in more ways than one, the most impressive production.
Student writing is difficult to pull off well. Selling tickets is a hard job even without the play being completely unknown and there can understandably be scepticism around inexperienced playwrights – but ‘New Town’ and the smiles it gave to a full Barron theatre was a wonderful advert for overcoming these difficulties. A warm and funny play that left a smile, it made for a lovely evening out, even if it perhaps didn’t leave a lasting impression.
Folk was one of the kindest-hearted shows I’ve seen in my four years at St Andrews. It’s been a long time since I’ve left a theatre here with such a warm buzz in my heart, having laughed till I cried. From the cosy set design with every shelf dressed with perfectly messy bric-a-brac, to Joey Baker’s choice to have Joseph Kitching strumming on his guitar as the audience entered, I really felt like one of the motley crew welcomed into Winnie’s front room.
We were welcomed into the Barron by Wilf Wheatley, collecting our tickets in character. Wheatley’s Cornish-accented stationmaster was the first sign that Mermaids’ latest production, Arnold Ridley’s The Ghost Train, was going to be a raucous affair: teetering between camp comedy and jump-scare titillation.
With St Andrews arguably the most diverse it’s ever been in terms of theatre, it’s rare to see something new. That said, Getting Even is the first play that I can think of that actively incorporates audience interactivity to go up here. As a mesh of an entertaining, hour long experience with simple decision-making, it does just enough to keep you on the hook for the full hour.