Monday, February 26Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Tag: Theatre

What’s So Bad About Bootlegs?
Culture & Literature, Theatre & Performance

What’s So Bad About Bootlegs?

When it comes to bootleg musicals, conflicting opinions abound. Sure, they’re technically illegal, but isn’t it a victimless crime? Or are they doing damage to the art that writers, actors, and many more have put painstaking effort into creating? Do they wrongly cheapen what should be a top-drawer experience, or do they better the theatre industry by making it more accessible to the masses? Bootlegs are illegal recordings of musicals or shows made by people in the audience and distributed, often via YouTube, for people online to see. Nowadays, they’re usually taken on smartphones and the quality tends to be awful. Yet these recordings often fetch tens, even hundreds of thousands of views, despite normally being taken down after only a few weeks due to copyright laws. As a form of pirac...
The Man Who Reinvented the Musical: A Note on Stephen Sondheim
Culture & Literature, Literature, Theatre & Performance

The Man Who Reinvented the Musical: A Note on Stephen Sondheim

Perhaps the most renowned musical theatre composer and lyricist of the 20th century passed away on the 26th November, aged ninety-one. Stephen Sondheim began his career writing the lyrics to West Side Story (1975) – recently adapted by Spielberg into a dazzling Hollywood movie starring Rachel Zelger and Ansel Elgort – and went on to write the music and lyrics for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979) and Into the Woods (1987) as well as Broadway classics such as Company (1970), Follies (1971), and Merrily We Roll Along (1981). The musical theatre mogul received significant acclaim for his work, winning eight Tonys, eight Grammys, an Oscar, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom to name but a few awards. Not one, but two theatres were named after him – one on Broadway, one in ...
Review of A Night at the Theatre: A Night of Riotous Fun
Culture & Literature, Theatre & Performance

Review of A Night at the Theatre: A Night of Riotous Fun

On arriving at A Night at the Theatre, a variety night of Royal Holloway’s various performing arts societies, it was hard to know what to expect. There was a palpable air of giddiness and nerves even in the audience: parents and friends excited to see people they knew, but daunted by the hodgepodge of performances ahead.  As it happened, though, there was nothing to worry about! This show offered a series of bright, fast-moving snapshots of the workings of an enormous number of societies and their talented members, with all of it pulled together by Daniel Loosley as the MC.  The vocal performances gave structure to this show, each of them impressive and totally unique. Absolute Harmony opened the show with a lively, skilful rendition of George Ezra’s ‘Shotgun’, complet...
When The Clock Strikes 00:00
Culture & Literature, Theatre & Performance

When The Clock Strikes 00:00

Engaging, thought-provoking and transparent are some of the adjectives that come to mind thinking back on the brilliant performance at The Packhorse, ‘00:00’, a play put on from the 7th to the 9th of December by ‘from (a)basement theatre collective’. The plot involves an exploration into the lives of employees of the Network Rail and is a conversation starter for tough and heavy topics such as mental health, suicide and social conventions. The small cast of four manage to tackle these serious and controversial topics in an empathetic yet frank way, unapologetically showing the audience the truth of the lives and struggles of those who run the behind-the-scenes of England’s Rail system. The cast are not given names, but instead letters of the alphabet, which further reiterates how unreco...
Mind the Gap: Good Enough to Make Even a Londoner Smile
Culture & Literature, Theatre & Performance

Mind the Gap: Good Enough to Make Even a Londoner Smile

It's easy for an abstract drama production, while aiming for a profound, almost philosophical execution, to slip unwittingly into turgid verses of stilted disarray. Entering the Student Workshop’s latest production, Mind the Gap, whose social commentary, I had heard, bubbled at the surface of the show, I was convinced it would follow the same conceited creed. While watching the opening scene, I chuckled sombrely to myself, having found another esoteric piece to lambaste relentlessly. However, come the dropping of the figurative curtains, I had come to the resolute conclusion that my initial interpretation was entirely and profoundly incorrect. Anton Ego had his taste of ratatouille. The cast radiate a comforting exuberance throughout the show, allowing it to narrowly avoid the classic t...
Student Productions: One to Watch
Culture & Literature, Theatre & Performance

Student Productions: One to Watch

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: theatre is a gift. The dedication and hard work that goes into producing a high-quality show for the audience to enjoy is unparalleled and should be appreciated - even at the student level. University students juggle degrees, part-time jobs and socialising with hours and hours of rehearsals almost every night so that, in just a couple of months, they can stand in the Student’s Union or Jane Holloway Hall performing their hearts out for the students who attend. However, while these shows do attract quite a lot of people, there are scores of RHUL students who will graduate without ever seeing a student production. My only question is why? Student productions are an opportunity to watch a high-quality show for a relatively low cost. Most show...
What Can the Royal Opera House Do For You?
Culture & Literature, Theatre & Performance

What Can the Royal Opera House Do For You?

  Situated in Covent Garden, the current Royal Opera House is the third building to stand in the area after the two previous theatres burned down in a fire. The second re-opening kicked off with the royal seal of approval and a new name ‘the Royal Italian Opera House’. After hosting composers such as Handel and Michael Costa, the Royal Opera House was growing in both audience and repertoire. It was renamed once again to what we know now as ‘the Royal Opera House’ after it sadly burned down for the second time. However this has not affected its popularity as it now covers over two acres – from main stage to rehearsal studio… But over the years  words such as ‘Elitist’, ‘snobby’ and ‘highbrow’ have been used to describe ballet, opera and other art forms on display at the Royal Ope...
The Nether – Review
Culture & Literature, Theatre & Performance

The Nether – Review

Bethany Wilkinson set herself a very difficult challenge – to direct a complicated, dark play in a very limited rehearsal period and present it in the, frankly, bare setting of the rehearsal room in the Drama department. She succeeded in completing this challenge and this can be vouched by the audience members who were lucky enough to witness this show (only 30 tickets per show for 2 performances were available). The Nether by Jennifer Haley is a look at a dystopian not-too-distant future where the internet grew into what is referred to as The Nether, a virtual reality system where users can live a consequence free existence and they can choose to transition into Shadows, living out a fantasy while their actual bodies wither away. The lead character, Detective Morris, is after a specifi...
Theatre Tickets at a Price You Can’t Afford to Miss
Culture & Literature, Theatre & Performance

Theatre Tickets at a Price You Can’t Afford to Miss

When you’re 40 minutes from central London, with a return ticket for as little as £7, studying at Royal Holloway is a drama student’s dream. But being a regular theatre-goer comes at a hefty price if you’re not savvy about how to nab the most reasonably priced tickets. Student life is expensive enough as it is, so I’ve compiled a list of the best ways to maintain your theatre addiction and save your pennies. Mousetrap Theatre Projects has a scheme called westend4£10 if you’re 19-25 (or theatrelive4£5 if you’re 18!) where they organise trips to the biggest shows currently in the West End, often accompanied with a backstage tour or Q&A to make the experience even better. You can sign up for free on their website. PROMPT offers students great deals from £16 to some of the best West ...
A Dark Season
Culture & Literature, Theatre & Performance

A Dark Season

A theatre will usually create a season of shows with a shared concept, and an example of this is the upcoming season of Oscar Wilde at the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End. It is often the case with Shakespeare’s Globe, especially during Emma Rice’s time as the artistic director, with seasons called ‘Summer of Love’, for example, or ‘The Wonder Season’. Therefore, it is very interesting to see that, unintentionally, the Performing Arts Societies on campus are all putting on some very dark shows, while The Student Workshop, the extension of the Drama department not affiliated with the SU, instead chose an intentionally light show. Drama Society is putting on Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Musical Theatre Society (MTS) is doing Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret, Savoy Opera Society is offering Br...