In just one and a half weeks Bristol Dramasoc devised an animated and fun loving piece, gracing our own M&D stage with childish vigour. As part of a performance exchange with EUTCo we were treated to A Sleepless Night directed by Dan Durkin and Phoebe Simmonds.
The show was told through the eyes of a young girl and guided us through the evening before her first day of school. We watched the little girl, Thomy, full of nerves and apprehension for a day of new beginnings,gain confidence and even excitement at the prospect of a fresh start. This was achieved through the girl’s imaginary friends, who, itching for a few bedtime stories, used fairy tales we all know and love in failing attempts to reassure her that everything would be ok.
a piece with a poignant message, told in an entertaining way
The dark M&D stage, which can sometimes be a challenging space to work with, was scattered with cardboard boxes and a cast sporting an array of quirky pyjamas. We had to rely on their energy to fill the stage with life; they certainly achieved this. Thomy Lawson brought great innocence to her role with brilliant comic timing; you couldn’t help but sympathise with her. She was supported by a dynamic ensemble with expressive faces, producing funny sounds that reminded me of the Despicable Me minions, resulting in continuous giggles from the audience. Within this clown-like ensemble, Lily Carr’s wonderful facial expressions couldn’t go amiss alongside Eliot Brett’s wonderful impersonation of a scary head teacher.
A highlight of the piece for me was their frequent use of physical theatre, whether that was pretending they were a wardrobe filled to the brim with fancy dress or a mermaid swimming through the ocean. It was enjoyable to watch the cast physically embody the fairy tales and if anything, I would like to have seen even more! With such a limited amount of rehearsal time, you could say it was slightly rough around the edges, but this only added to the fresh and improvised feel. It would be interesting to see where they could take it even further in the future.
Despite the show being aimed at children and part of their tour around Bristol schools, it remained relatable to anyone experiencing a fresh start and I am sure many of us felt the same nerves before fresher’s week, where a cup of tea and binge watching Netflix calmed our anxieties rather than tales of little red riding hood.
I wish Bristol Dramasoc the best of luck for the rest of their tour and I am sure the children will love it. it was a piece with a poignant message, told in an entertaining way.