Cram

Thu 7th – Sat 9th November 2013

reviews

Saoirse McStay

at 13:30 on 8th Nov 2013

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Giving university alumni the power to decide the content of a production is an incredibly brave and potentially disastrous move, but Spotlights’ ‘Cram’ managed to pull it off excellently. The Island, an informal theatre space in the city centre, was perfect for this production, the audience feeling as though they had stumbled in on a modestly brilliant little 'something' the writers and actors of Spotlights had been working on over the past few weeks. I had my doubts about the ability of the writers to incorporate such disparate and bizarre concepts - originating from written contributions of words and titles from those who visited the stand at the Freshers’ Fair - into short pieces that could actually work. However, I was amazed at what had been achieved.

Particularly noteworthy was the second piece ‘Jeremy’, with Jack Chesher and Georgia Ingham brilliantly building up the feeling of frenzied hysteria that the ludicrous plot of the piece demanded. In addition, ‘What if I found a balloon in the toaster?’, which played on flatmate dynamics and stereotypes with which the student audience were all evidently familiar, demonstrated a hilarious script and superb acting from all of the cast, leaving the audience in stitches. Rose Bonsier’s ‘An Awkward Meeting’ was delightful, exploring the nature of friendship in a mature and thought-provoking way, all the while managing to keep the piece light-hearted and humorous, and this piece, along with the first, ‘Deliveries’, provided a little light relief from the intensity of the other plays. Other pieces such as ‘That’s not a Horse!’ and ‘The Legend of the Golden Teacup’ made their inclusion of some of the words they were given rather unsubtle, but this is in no way a criticism, since this further contributed to the hilarity and lunacy of the evening.

The staging was aptly minimal, keeping the focus on the virtually flawless acting throughout, and I left feeling thoroughly entertained and elated that the concept of this production had been executed so successfully.

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