'An evening of music, laughter and talent' - New Writing Night @ Bristol Old Vic

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By Yasmin Inkersole, second year English

Yasmin Inkersole shares her thoughts on New Writing Night at Bristol Old Vic

Stepping into the newly-renovated Bristol Old Vic, it’s hard not to be impressed by the beauty of the building and the excitement that hangs in the air. Discovered through the Old Vic’s ‘The Open Session’, a call-out for new script submissions, New Writing Nights at the theatre provide an opportunity for up-and-coming actors, writers and directors alike to showcase a short piece of work. Consequently, at £10 a ticket, attendees have the unique opportunity to see six performances in a row. There is, quite literally, something for everyone!

Just as the architecture of the building itself is a display of the old alongside the new, so too do the extracts span across time periods and genres. For example, ‘Across the River’ by Liz Mutton presents a powerful dialogue between Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey (Louis Rhone) and Edward Young Clarke (Alex Wilson), a leader of the KKK. The combination of fierce acting and a sharp, clever script gradually brings these polar characters closer together, such that Garvey’s impassioned cry: “We Mr Clarke have nothing in common (…) we are enemies” begins to ring false to the ears.

"'Stanley at the Beaufort' has a distinctly darker tone... asking the question: can art and war exist together?"

This period piece is followed by ‘Gunshow’ by Connor Macleod, an exploration of the cost of going viral on the internet. Isabella Culver shines in her performance as Gabe, who is the only visible character in the entire performance. The use of a soundtrack to play the voices of Gabe’s online gaming friends provides the most impressive scenes of the performance, as Culver’s lines slot perfectly between the pre-recorded reactions of the others. Alternatively, ‘Stanley at the Beaufort’ has a distinctly darker tone, exploring Bristol’s history during the Second World War and asking the question: can art and war exist together?

The evening is rounded off with Brook Tate’s ‘Mr Maglump’, a musical piece starring the talented students of BOVTS, whose endless enthusiasm and perfect pitches sold the innocent tale of inviting a grumpy neighbour, Mr Maglump, over for dinner. The fun injected into this performance, alongside some very catchy riffs, is enough to leave us stepping out into the cold evening grinning ear-to-ear and singing the chorus all the way home.

"the perfect outing for theatre lovers and theatre novices alike"

Ultimately, the New Writing Night succeeds in presenting surprise after surprise, moving seamlessly from comedy to introspection. It’s the perfect outing for theatre lovers and theatre novices alike, providing a taste of some of the best writing and new talent that Bristol has to offer.

*Feature image: Unsplash / Rob Laughter *


Did you go to New Writing night, too? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

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