BPC @ The Yard

Tue 10th – Thu 12th March 2015


Sonny marr

at 00:56 on 11th Mar 2015



Rayner’s new play, a kind of contemporary kitchen sink, was performed last night at the newly opened theatre space called The Yard, situated in a back room of The Old Fish Market pub on Baldwin Street. Rayner should (and was) applauded for not so subtly drawing attention to the fact that our generation is as painfully self aware as it is confused. Am I a good person? Is this what I want to be when I grow up? Is it safe to pour vodka on an open wound? These are the sorts of questions that Jess Rayner is unafraid to ask. It was a highly ambitious production given the limited amount of space and there only being a cast of three, but overall it was impressive. Grace Vance as Jeanie was perfect for the role. Boundless energy, comic timing and sensitive handling of Drunk’s more intense scenes (of which there are many) made her extremely entertaining to watch.

If we are splitting hairs, it did seem to take rather a long time for the cast to ‘get going’ as it were. Particularly in the early scenes, too frequent ‘dramatic pauses’ slowed the pace of the scene to the point that it seemed as though the two main actors (Vance and Anna Rathbone playing the ever-tense Marine) were either unrehearsed or just didn’t compliment each other. I was happily proved wrong however when the pair did find their rhythm about fifteen minutes in. Theirs was the central relationship and my only complaint about the bizarre appearance of the intoxicated hypnotist was that he wasn’t on stage for long enough! In a reworked version I would suggest that the director make more of his character, especially if Joe Hesketh was to be recast.

Light and sound (designed by Elinor Lower and Jon Berry) created the kind of atmosphere that the audience barely notice, but the play would be lost without. Really, they did a fantastic job.

Unfortunately Drunk was a one off performance, part of a three part series of new writing by students at the University of Bristol for its Spotlights society. It was one of the better pieces of student theatre I have seen in my three years at Bristol, and I would be intrigued to see how another director would reinterpret Rayner’s intelligent piece.


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