Mon 18th – Tue 19th November 2013


Saoirse McStay

at 01:02 on 19th Nov 2013



Falstaff society’s LitLive returned this year with the broad theme of Dystopias and Utopias, giving any budding student writers, actors and poets ample opportunity to flourish creatively. The results were wonderfully varied.

The first piece, ‘A Truth Universally Acknowledged’ approached feminist issues such as marriage and female submissiveness in workplace meetings. Regarding the marketing of engagement rings, the convincing and humorous performances of both Izzy Eadie and Alice Goodger carried the message of the piece over to the audience without being over-bearing. I also must give credit to the writer and director for the effectiveness of this particular piece.

Second up was the slightly more serious and frankly rather confusing ‘Handmaid 451’, a mash-up of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Fahrenheit 451’, which I felt made little sense to those members of the audience with no prior knowledge of either text. Though I appreciated the acknowledgement of issues facing women discussed in the first piece, as well as others such as the burning and censorship of books and loss of personal identity, the piece unfortunately did not reach its full potential.

Next up was the hilarious ‘Beyond Happily Ever After’, definitely the most conceptually brilliant piece of the bunch, displaying the future demise of various Disney relationships within the framework of a marriage counselling session. Tess Annan and Oli Higginson changed seamlessly from one couple to the next, displaying their versatility as actors.

Following the interval came the most welcome surprise of the evening in the form of performance poetry by Joe O’Toole and George Erlanger (or ‘Chubby White’ as he called himself), who were absolutely outstanding and had the audience in fits of laughter. This added a bit of variety to the otherwise rather familiar format of dramatic vignettes that is prevalent in student drama productions of this kind.

Though the excerpt from Orwell’s ‘1984’ was incredibly poignant, with both Richard Hill and Talia Goldman portraying their characters with veracity and sensitivity, it might have been better placed before the interval, since the mood change between this piece and the comical poetry that preceded it was quite abrupt.

‘I, Lucifer’ contained similar problems to ‘Handmaid 451’, whereby the Miltonian references were lost on some members of the audience, although it did raise interesting questions about the nature of evil and human morality. In addition, both pieces were equipped with superb actors, most notably Georgia Ingham as Clarisse Mclellan in ‘Handmaid 451’ and Harry Trevaldwyn as Lucifer in ‘I, Lucifer’.

Finally, ‘The Waiting Room’ rounded off the evening with a heart-warming and amusing judgement day waiting-area scenario. Rosie Thompson in particular played the bored secretary wonderfully.

Taking place in the appropriately intimate theatre space of The Bristol Fringe, LitLive was a really interesting and creative array of various interpretations of a theme, incorporating both reworked and new ideas and once again displaying the huge amount of talent Bristol has to offer.


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