Student drama companies from University College London have enjoyed critical success at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival.
Groups in association with UCLU Drama society took two productions to the annual theatre festival, which runs for three weeks in August.
UCLU Runaground staged Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl’s adaption of the Orpheus myth, Euridice, at C venues Edinburgh College of Art. Reviewer Three Weeks gave Euridice a 5 star review, describing it as “refreshingly accessible” and “meticulously directed”.
EmpathEyes, in association with Runaground, put on a stage adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984. Their run in Edinburgh came after sell-out shows at the Bloomsbury theatre in March. With a downsized space and cast, the production took on more of an ensemble feel. The performance featured live musicians, film projections, and UCL President Malcolm Grant reprising his on-screen appearance as Big Brother.
Fringe Guru hailed the production as “physically impressive and deeply disturbing”, giving it 5 stars. In addition, EmpathEyes received the 2012 ‘Sell Out Fringe’ award for selling 95% or more tickets throughout the 3 weeks. Producer Imogen Lewis said “The name of the show really helped and I think people wanted to know how 1984 could be made into a play with live music, projections and ensemble work!”
Two comedy productions by were put on by UCL student companies. UCL’s satirical magazine The Cheese Grater put on Julian Ignores His Friend and Talks to a Pretty Girl. The show was well received and it garnered many good reviews, including 4 stars from Three Weeks.
UCLU Comedy Club performed Art of Procrastination at Paradise in the Vault: a sketch show taking on among other subjects University Challenge and laser vision mice. Attracting audiences at a festival with thousands of shows was at times a challenge for the comedy troupe. Performer Jon Miller said, “One night, the audience comprised just two members – and they were the parents of a cast member! Nonetheless, such occasions made it all the more rewarding when we packed out the venue, which we did on several occasions over the two-week performance period.”
There was also individual success for students. Kwame Asante, a 4th year medical student, won the prestigious ‘Chortle student comedy award’. Previous finalists of the £2500 prize include professional comedians Tom Deacon and Simon Bird. Kwame said, “I feel blessed to have come out on top on the night, and would like to thank my friends and family for their support.