Review: Theatre Group Showcase 2016

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Thoroughly Entertaining

I urge anyone that gets a chance to see next year's showcase to do just that, as they will not be disappointed.

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SUSU Theatre Group’s 2016 showcase exhibited a vast compilation of performances and improvisation, which ranged from the wrenchingly heart-breaking, to the comically hilarious. It was great to see SUSU Theatre Group demonstrate their talent- which they have in abundance, and the proceedings were excellently overseen by hosts Alex Mazare and Will Shere.

The first performance, entitled No Sleep, was director Flora Whitmarsh’s thought-provoking exploration of insomnia in young adults. The only performer, Marcus Taylor, grasped the varying emotions of delusion, joy, pain and suffering and ultimately insanity. I found the repetition highlighted the overwhelming power that thought and suggestion holds over us, and how delusions of happiness can really mask inner weakness.

Following this was After A.I, Ilsa Jones’ hauntingly realistic interpretation of the clash between A.I and human instinct, something I feel is very relevant nowadays. Even in this simulated environment, the playing off of anger and identity really did strike as frightening realistic, but the heartfelt and honest ending perhaps hinted at a future with potential hope. 

There was a four person devised piece that lurched between sequences and scenarios, dealing with medical drama, to family bereavement and the burden of passing, and the environment of domestic arguments which can stem from this. Particular props must go to Shihab Abdulgadir, whose performance truly captured the heart-breaking emotion. All four members also deserve great credit for making so much out of so little, as their only motivation was a single photo.

For a lighter break, ComedySoc took charge and with them came some absolutely brilliant one-liners and humour. Whether it was trying to explain Ultimate Frisbee, or the pilot of The Butter’s Gone Soft, a period drama to rival Downton Abbey and Wolf Hall, all six members were truly hilarious and brilliant.

The next piece, Psychiatry for Dummies was a clever pastiche of modern psychoanalysis and the concepts associated with it. The underlying theme of persecution was sewn in superbly with an equally convoluted and entertaining plot, that left the audience question exactly who was director Raffaela Patmore’s eponymous Dummy.

The fifth piece, Boggle, which dealt with the personal difficulty of amnesia after an accident, struck a chord with me, as I really could empathise with the scenario. The emotional tension was devastating and the realism of the situation added an especially sad punch to the piece. Josh Harris as Richard really captured the frustration and difficulty of being unable to remember things in his powerful outbursts, whereas Olivia Krauze and Ellie Joyce were superb in demonstrating the knock-on effects for others affected by such tragedies.

The final performance, Treehouse by Tessa Stark, explored the paradox of relationships and provided some ironic entertainment through its witty, dry dialogue. The problem of understanding exactly what love means was conveyed in a blunt manner, which weighed up the prospect of intellect vs. social compatibility.  Charlie Taylor and Alex Wallace really understood and performed the roles well, and such situations will probably be familiar to most university students!

Overall, the talent shown by all involved, be that writers, directors or improvisers, was inspiring and the show was a thoroughly brilliant success. 

Theatre Group Showcase 2016 was at the Annex Theatre. 

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