Anyone who knows me will tell you that my favorite writer is Martin McDonagh. There’s something about his scripts, the weirdness, the darkness, and the absolutely bonkers humor, that speaks to me. That being said, I never really liked Cripple of Inishmaan. It’s a good script, but it seemed to lack a lot of the energy that made McDonagh as a writer click – it was slow and standard, rather than his usual eclectic style. That is, until Saturday, when I saw it for myself. The Cripple of Inishmaan made me smile more than any play has in a very long time, and while it may have been lower energy than McDonagh’s other scripts, it was no less of a riotously fun time.
I was talking to a friend of mine last week, who was working as one of the technicians for Sweeney Todd, who told me that the show contained over 300 lighting cues, significant numbers of sound cues, an absurd number of costumes, a strong makeup department, as well as a full orchestra pit. It shouldn’t surprise you, then, when I say that Sweeney Todd cannot be done by a uni troupe perfectly. Resource restrictions dictate that it can’t be. But it is shocking, in the way that many St Andrews productions often are, that this production of Sweeney got as close as it did. Warts and all, Sweeney Todd was an example of what a great show in the Byre can be.
Don’t be misled by this play’s title; it deals with much more than physics or physicists. The show was performed in its original German (a delight as a mother-tongue German speaker) with English subtitles. Dürrenmatt’s dark absurdist comedy tackles the ethics and structures of science, madness and power. In the Director’s Note, the directors acknowledge the challenge in staging this “fiercely moral yet absurdist piece” and bringing it into the 21st century, a challenge they wonderfully mastered.
Inklight presented a poetry slam as part of On The Rocks Festival! The closest poetry gets to a competitive sport, some talented St Andrews poets battled it out over the microphone in Sandy’s Bar. It was a close race.
The St Andrews Revue exists as the University’s only standing sketch comedy troupe. The improv comedy group Blind Mirth gives the form a go during each On The Rocks Festival, as does the Comedy Society, yet The Revue is the only student group committed to the form. Unlike the other two groups, they are not affiliated with the Union.
Unicef on Campus St Andrews’ 4th Annual Symposium was held in the Byre Theatre Studio this year, and for the first time, Unicef’s Symposium collaborated with On the Rocks, expanding their audience. The Symposium focused on the issue of Children in Conflict and brought in a panel of speakers with a diverse level of expertise on the topic. The speakers included Marc Ellison, a photojournalist working in conflict zones; Laurie Druelle, a representative of HALO Trust, which focuses on Mine Clearance and Awareness in post-confict zones; Jaremey McMullin, a St Andrews IR lecturer researching internal conflict and the process of post-conflict transition; and Daniel Cosgrove, a representative from UNICEF UK based in Glasgow.
The Jazz Café, hosted by the Lumsden Club in Sandy’s Bar, as part of the On the Rocks Festival, was a night of both intimate acoustic music and brash, fabulous, big band standards. The packed bar chatted spiritedly throughout, as the venue as a café and not a concert greatly added to the relaxed feel of the evening.
- What is FOUND?
Found, most simply, is a dance show. However instead of being on a stage, it happens outside in various locations around town. It’s also not just one dance show, but several – we have over 10 pieces being performed throughout the week. It’s also a bit different because you don’t need to buy a ticket, you just turn up. But we also won’t tell you when or where it’s happening, so it’s up to you to find us! Each performance only lasts about 5 minutes long but together they form the collective work of Found. It’s kind of like, for want of a better word, flash mobs, although think less jazz hands and more contemporary pop-up performances.
The Great Gatsby, with its stunning eloquence, complex characters and mirage of excess, is not ideally suited for stage adaptation. The text of the play relies too heavily upon the poeticism of Nick’s monologues to bridge the gaps between haphazardly strung together key scenes from the book. Therefore, this must have been an incredibly difficult piece for the whole team to have worked with, and the limitations placed upon the actors and director because of the script were evident throughout this production.
First off, I hate fairy lights in plays. I have to lay my cards on the table. Deploy them as well as you like, I’m going to sneer at their use anywhere except on the pin-board of your first-year bedroom. Sorry. While we’re on confessions, I want to note that I don’t really know how to review new writing – should I talk about the production or the text? Both?