By Greg Evans, Digital Arts Editor
Bristol Dramsoc give audiences a whirlwind tour of 80 years of theatre, with eight short performances reflecting the zeitgeist of each decade. With the audience in raptures, student theatre is definitely back!
Piling into the Winston Theatre, pint in freshly stamped hands, groups of students (quite literally) beamed with excitement for the first bit of Dramsoc performance this term.
To a sold-out house, they delivered eight well-crafted plays, satisfying the theatre cravings of a rowdy audience.
Starting with 1950s Agatha Christie, and moving through the decades to Samuel Beckett, Back to the Future, David Bowie, Vic and Bob, Gavin and Stacey, Fleabag and Our Lady of Blundellsands, the troupe’s boundless energy is infectious throughout.
Whilst earlier decades feel less tangible to the riotous crowd, some deft acting from stand out performers ensures an effective showing. Both a nuanced performance by Ellis Rooney in Back to the 80s and some uplifting physical comedy chops from Hen Ryan in The Burglary of Bowie’s Bell-Bottoms, made for a well rounded first half.
But, shining like a weird beacon of existentialism were the three actors who took on Samuel Becket’s Play. With absurdity taking the form of three human urns, actors crashed through their lines, executing some difficult material in style. Respect to the stage techs here, who kept pace with the pretty fugal (read: hellishly precise) stage direction of Becket.
The second half kicks off with the 1990s reigning supreme. Anya Gerasimenko and Adam Cook direct a stormer of a performance that has the audience in stitches. Embodying Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer’s comedy vision, actors manage to deliver slapstick with all the subtlety of a flying brick. As they do throughout the night, the lighting and sound team *nail it*.
Whilst audiences struggled now and then to engage with unfamiliar material, great acting like Gabriel Adebiyi's in Our Lady of Blundellsands broke free of this, ensuring that every performance was enjoyed by all. Molly Grogan's performance as Claire in Fleabag should also be lauded for its deadpan delivery.
With a cast list the length of my arm, kudos must also be given to executive producers Emma van Elzakker and Anna Sharp, who organise a seamless performance in such a short amount of time.
On final curtain there was a palpable sense of enjoyment in the room; it rumbled from the stalls and spilled onto the pavements of Queens Road. Dramsoc delivered an ambitious programme of events, with sprinklings of greatness throughout.
Featured Image: Moonshine Photography and Roosa Kor
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