Last night TRASh opened to a sold out audience at the Bristol SU’s Winston Theatre. The enchanting performance featured 8 short extracts that had been adapted from different texts, films and plays directed by a team from the DramSoc committee. Our evening was an expedition throughout history, starting in the 1940s and journeying through the decades to present day, guided by Audio-Visual projections to set the scene.
A Piece of Cake, directed by Jude Mack, was a captivating piece of physical theatre, which, although slightly overshadowed by some of the bigger, more visually spectacular pieces that followed, had moments of emotional poignancy and provided an entertaining start to the show.
Similarly touching was Max Kirk’s Tom’s Midnight Garden. Kirk’s trademark quirky directing style paved the way for some beautiful shadowplay, which, not to give too much away, added a cinematic backdrop to the whistle-stop tour through Philippa Pearce’s children’s classic.
For me, Hal Breen’s The Odd Couple was the best performance of the evening. With one of the strongest ensembles, the cast were hilarious in their delivery of this dark comedy. A special mention should go to Hannah McLeod for her amazing ability to make eating bread one of the funniest moments of the entire evening.
Representing the 70s was Il Fornicazzione. This was perhaps the funniest and best received extract of the entire night. This scene was an adaptation of an opera, but the farcical exploits, and genuinely impressive singing from Shaun Would and Mhairi Angus had the audience in stitches throughout.
Not all of TRASh relies on humour, however. Steaming uses the most immersive stage techniques to engage the audience in the comic, yet moving microcosm of 1980s East End womanhood. Not shying away from hard-hitting social realism, this performance featured a scene-stealing performance from Grace Vance, who held my attention throughout, and played an integral part of an excellent piece of theatre.
Lightening the mood somewhat, the 90s and 00s were represented by adaptations of iconic films, the identity of which I won’t give away, as the reveal plays a key part in the enjoyment of the piece. Although performing extracts from such widely popularised films had the risk of feeling too familiar to the audience, they were executed well, with a particularly strong performance from Diggory Waite in the 90s piece, acting alongside a strong ensemble cast atop the most impressive set of the evening.
A particularly special mention should go to Will Blok for his ability to deliver endlessly quoted lines from the 00s movie in a way which was not only somewhat different from the original but also caused the audience to burst into spontaneous applause.
Now in the present day, Constellations ended the show brilliantly with a very strong and unforgettable performance. In an evening of comedy, this introspective scene was a great contrast to what had preceded it, brilliantly directed in a black box-style space and performed by a cast impressively in tune with one another, able to deliver moments of humour amongst elements of the heartbreakingly real.
Overall, TRASh was an enigmatic, hilarious and reflective production that included both satirical interpretations of society and an ability to deal with real issues in a thought provoking way. Tickets for the Friday and Saturday performances of TRASh are still available here.