It has now been almost 24 hours since I sat down in the cinema to watch Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, A Star is Born, which marks the fourth remake of this classic Hollywood love story. Since the moment the credits began to roll, with incessant tears running down my face, I have listened to the song ‘Shallow’ from the film’s soundtrack roughly 152 times. A veritable masterpiece, both visually and vocally, Cooper and Lady Gaga have created a cinematic joy which you simply cannot miss.
Cocktail dress on, champagne drunk, 3 course Hotel Du Vin meal enjoyed – I cannot deny that my evening was well spent at Till Death Do Them Part: the Fine Food and Dining Society’s immersive murder mystery dinner. The evening’s success rested heavily on the improvisation skills of the 6 main actors – Molly Williams, Caelan Mitchell-Bennett, Minoli de Silva, Bennett Hunecke, Kate Stamoulis and Sasha Gisbourne (aided by photographers, wedding planners and hotel staff who were indispensable to the immersion – in particular Mary Byrne, the ‘host from the hotel’, did such a great job that I thought she worked for Hotel Du Vin until she was presented with flowers at the end of the night!). We were first welcomed into a reception chamber in which the actors slowly began to mingle with the assembled guests. Special mention must be made of Williams and Mitchell-Bennett who adeptly dealt with every single question thrown at them, providing seamless characterisation. The atmosphere was warm and the excitement tangible (I heard many a whisper of “he/she’s gonna die, I bet you”). Sure enough, as the Bride and Groom toasted to the occasion, the latter bent double in a realistic choking fit and we were all shepherded desperately out of the reception room and through to the dining room, accompanied by promises of “yes, I’ll call the police in a minute”.
The one thing that stuck with me when I left the cinema wasn’t the dazzling shots of Singapore (which turned out to be Malaysia), the acting of shockingly first-time film star Henry Golding as the Old Money Nick Young, or even the surprisingly catchy Chinese pop songs that had me googling the soundtrack. It was one line from the protagonist’s mother, spoken in fluent Mandarin (but subtitled for us): You look Chinese. You speak Chinese. But here, you’re different.
Rabbit Hole, Mermaids’ first StAge show of the semester, was a testament to the virtue of simplicity. Director Emma Gylling Mortensen has produced a play that is very clearly a passion project, and her affection for the text was made obvious by creative decisions – from the staging, to a lavishly detailed set, not to mention an inspired playlist – that demonstrated a commitment to utter precision.
As the daylight hours shorten and the temperature starts to drop, I begin to feel a sort of dread towards the inevitable late-night library sessions and bitterly cold walks home. Autumn and Winter is my favourite time of year, but when swamped with coursework one can’t help but let the night (which arrives at 3pm) put you in a bit of a blue mood. But everybody knows that the perfect remedy for gloominess or lethargy is some cheering tunes on your walk home or halfway through that marathon-style studying. Here are my favourites:
Mermaids’ production of Antigone, directed by Greta Kelly and Lorna Govan, is a well thought-through reading of the famous Greek tragedy. The direction was faithful to the text and successfully conveyed Sophocles’ adaptation of the ancient myth, thanks to striking performances from the entire cast. This same faithfulness to the text, however, fails to make the themes of the tragedy relevant to a contemporary audience, which ultimately undermines the power of the production.
As the owner of an Amazon prime account I have access to many free films, but on top of these I have purchased seven films which tell a lot about me: firstly there’s the three gritty, tense Iranian dramas, which show that I study Persian. Then the three Richard Curtis/Hugh Grant films, which show that I have been dumped in the last couple of years and that I’m a massive softy. And finally there’s the crowning glory, the one I watch most, after perhaps Four Weddings, Mamma Mia, which shows that I have great taste. This is backed up by the fact that this summer I only went to the cinema three times, once to see Incredibles Two with my brother, and then twice to see Mamma Mia! Here we go again – the most anticipated film of the century for me and every woman named Sandra.
Have you ever read an Agatha Christie novel and wished that you could have lived through it in real life? Have you always thought that, had you been there, you would have known whodunnit? Well, the opportunity to live this dream is closer than you think…
For their first production of the new academic year, Mermaids presented us with something a bit different from its usual fare. Tales of our World promised an evening of intimate performance storytelling, bringing together the voices of the past and present in monologues “encompassing the scope of human narratives.”
Unlike the changing of the seasons from summer to autumn, and the slow shift of the leaves to yellow and brown, my obsession with Donna Tartt’s The Secret History stays evergreen. For the main protagonist, Richard, an outcast and classicist at Hampden College, obsession is his fatal flaw, reflecting the main theme of the novel.