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.
The coming of a New Year’s On the Rocks can bring with it a host of new events, with more theatre, art and music than you could shake a stick at –but a guaranteed staple has always been the Blind Mirth Sketch Show. Typically, an improv comedy group, once a year during OTR, Blind Mirth turns their talents to sketch comedy writing, bringing their wit to the masses on the Byre main stage. This year’s production, Mirth Control, while funny, lacked some of the charm of previous shows, occasionally over using tired tropes that seemed more suited to the 1970s.
Reviewing student stand up can often be a difficult proposition. For the most part it’s rare that you get the opportunity to review a full length routine, as a lot of the stand up that we see it town is a work in process, with people trying out new material in venues like Sandy’s Sundown Stand up. While the overall experience of Sandy’s is frequently great, the individual quality of people’s sets can occasionally be hit and miss – and the last thing you want to see is someone bomb on stage for 40 minutes. Luckily, Joe Irvine’s On The Rocks show Alternate was utterly charming and borderline fantastic.
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.
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.
It’s very rare that I can honestly recommend a show to anyone and everyone, but rare things have a habit of happening on occasion. This is one of those occasions. As far as I know the plan is to take this show to the Edinburgh Fringe festival this August. If you find yourself in Edinburgh for the festival, you should absolutely see this show.
It’s easy to write about something terrible. It’s not challenging to write about something average. It’s fairly difficult to write about something good. But it’s excruciatingly hard to write about something perfect.
Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, is Disney’s latest addition to their live-action collection of classic fairytales. Director Bill Condon creates an enchanting rendition of the 1991 animation and transforms a ‘tale as old as time’ into a more cohesive musical, whilst keeping the integrity of the original. With a juxtaposition between faithful reiterations that strike our nostalgia as well as new, modernised adventures, audiences see a revived storyline that is still faithful to the beloved classic.