This was originally posted on thePDQ in April 2016 and was co-written with Josie Durney.
At Queen Mary we are very fortunate to have a thriving and active drama department, as well as a very busy theatre company, which anyone from across the university can join. The fifth festival of the year took place from the 4th-6th March, and aimed to showcase new plays written by Queen Mary students. Of course, audiences were not disappointed by the array of shows on offer, and their incredibly high production quality. Here’re some of the highlights from each show.
Toxicity – Written and directed by Cameron Szerdy.
Describing itself with the simple tagline “Marriage. Murder. Mayhem”, all fronts were delivered by partners in crime, partners solving crime, and partners caught up in crime. Alice and Rufus found themselves messing up a murder having dumped the body parts in their neighbours’ wheelie bins (the bin in question causing an extremely comical moment). Detectives Fox and Hound brought punches of comedy as they paced around trying to solve the situation before it gets any worse, all amidst a script full of bickering, puns, and drama.
Blind Mice – Written by Liam Lemkin, directed by Liam Lemkin and George Readshaw.
Performed by two actors (plus a cameo role), the play centered around a couple – Duke and Pandora – who are stuck in one room, armed only with a dictionary to entertain themselves. Scripted with fast-paced dialogue, the play really kept the audience on their toes. A thought-provoking play about the nature of language, which was also incredibly intimate, too.
The Murder Mystery One – Written and directed by Becky Rourke.
A compilation of Agatha Christie stories with a sprinkling of the contemporary, a dollop of laughs, and just a spoonful of QM-weirdness (banana suit, anyone?), this was a great opening show for the final day of the festival. Undoubtedly the funniest of the five plays on offer, we saw a range of character archetypes from ditsy assistant-detective to snobby head-of-household. The performance was pretty fast-paced, with almost too many jokes to count, and some very well-executed physical comedy.
Bridge Game – Written by Mira Yonder, directed by Mira Yonder and Dushant Patel.
A short play in an intimate black-box space (commonly known as RR3), this play was about relationships and communication. The female duo wove their way through repetitive dialogue, aimed to show the stagnated state of their relationship, in a way which showed how in-touch they were with their characters and the performance at that exact moment – the room was very tense. Technology was used to a great advantage, with a looping video and audio clip of ‘the past’ in the background whilst the actors played out a silent scene. An improvised word game was also part of the performance, which was fun to watch.
Bump – Written by Jack Ridley, directed by Jack Ridley and Sophie Davies.
Greeted by what seemed like a safe colour scheme of yellow and beige (aesthetic on POINT), I was hurled into a vortex of a play which gave me many an existential crisis whilst watching. The play was an intellectual one, and really made you think whilst watching it: what should we actually do with our lives, if we ourselves have created this notion of “living”? And if we had time travel, how would we use it? Though largely quite a serious play which tackled these big issues, there were some wonderful comedic moments to break up the tension, particularly from the arguing citizens of Pompeii.