I can’t say I really understand the resurgence of Agatha Christie, but she is coming back in a powerful fashion. Modern adaptations are trying to balance the camp of the older works with a darker, more realistic tone, and Rowan Wishart’s interpretation of And Then There Were None is a perfect example of this. It kept an even hand of fun and dark and managed to make a compelling, thrilling mystery out of an 80-year-old story. But there were technical inconsistencies throughout that kept it from being quite as exactly tuned as it could have been.
Student writing and science fiction are two things which are often underrepresented in St Andrews. A student-written science fiction show? Now that’s something we really don’t get a lot of.
Following their Brexit-based show last year, this semester St Andrews’ devising troupe, BlackBox, took a break from politics to explore Scottish folklore. To the Ocean tells the story of a young girl, Grace, whose mother Shonagh leaves when she is eight years old. Unable to tell her the truth, her father convinces her that Shonagh is a Selkie (a seal that can take off its skin and live on land as a human) who saved his life when his boat was caught in a storm but was then unable to come back to land. The majority of the play follows fifteen-year-old Grace and her friend Ana as they leave their small seaside town and follow the clues in a newspaper article to find Shonagh in the big city.
First things first: The Front Bottoms aren’t all that good. Sorry. But their newest album, Going Grey, is somehow the best album of 2017 anyway (sorry Harry Styles, I still love you). A band hailing from the great state of New Jersey, The Front Bottoms have created a following made up of the entire intersection of the Guys with Beards Who Wear Flannel and Fourteen Year-Old Girls Who Smoke Cigarettes venn diagram. In a nutshell, lead vocalist Brian Sella delivers lyrics with a voice anyone would not be surprised to learn comes from a dude named Brian, but that only seems to contribute to the greater lethargic effect exuded by the instrumentals. None of this should work, but it does.
Taylor Swift’s Reputation is packed with slick made-for-radio pop hits which are destined to be played on repeat for the next few years (or longer). It’s a great album, though it’s depressingly dark. Here is a song-by-song run-through:
“Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” is a place no one ever wants to be, but most of us find ourselves there at some point in our lifetime. This play was about one day in the life of Hester Collyer (Annabel Steele), beginning with her attempted suicide and ending with her choosing to live to see another day. Hester must ride the line between the proverbial Scylla and Charybdis, which in a way reflects the line that this production walked so expertly.
The more ancient a play is, the more work must be done to make it relevant. This is the fundamental struggle that any director has working with Greek Tragedy today. Gabriele Uboldi seems relatively unfazed by the concept. To him, that difficulty of making that relevant is basically the central conceit of the entire show.
Some shows don’t revive well.
The Just So Society, having finally ceded to pressure to programme classic musicals, may have hit a bum note in choosing Anything Goes – an immensely talented cast, some gaffs, and some great musical numbers do little to cover the frankly bald excuse for a script and the racial attitudes central to parts of the plot (centering around converting Chinese men to Christianity).
With the vast quantity of material that online streaming giant Netflix is churning out on a somewhat weekly basis, it is becoming a struggle to sieve the weak from the strong. Deciding on something to watch has become like looking for a needle in a haystack. However there are, on occasion, shows or films that deserve a special mention, and Mindhunter, based on the best selling non-fiction novel, is a series that cannot escape such recognition. The show sports many of the themes that are currently so popular: the retro nostalgia of the 1970s, the preoccupation with psychology, and, particularly at this time of year, the thrill of the unknown. Mindhunter ticks all these boxes and more.
Visions of a Life breathes new life into Wolf Alice’s dreamy sound, inserting a bit of grit while still taking us away from reality.