Quality theatre is never hard to find in Edinburgh. Whilst excellent professional productions frequently grace Edinburgh’s many charming stages, our editorial endeavour over the past months has been to nudge our section spotlight to highlight Edinburgh’s vivacious student theatre scene. The process has been a delight; this semester has hosted an eclectic variety of plays from intergalactic investigations to verbatim courtroom proceedings, all united by a standard of excellence.
The season opened at Bedlam with the ambitious 20 Minutes of Action, an original verbatim piece following the courtroom proceedings of one of America’s most controversial sexual assault case. Carefully cultivated to avoid legal implications, the production set the benchmark for the maturity that student theatre can achieve, both in precision of execution and in topics addressed. The subsequent EUTC productions of Blink and Things I Know to Be True shared this sophistication in their powerful explorations of relationships and the nature of human connection.
Tearjerkers were not the only shows to earn ample applause, however; plenty of knees were slapped and sides split within Edinburgh’s student stalls. The delightfully absurd staging of Douglas Adam’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency saw a mighty cast raise the roof of our homely red-doored church. Meanwhile, the raucous and rampant East, the EU Shakespeare Company’s first ‘Shakespe-rimental’ production, sparked shocks and sniggers with its intoxicatingly enthused alloy of Cockney rhyme and Shakespearean smut. The superb rendition of Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off featured an extremely impressive production, product of an ambitious set and inspired costume, not to mention a calibre of acting that marks out names as those to watch.
Original writing took centre stage this season. The heartwarming and life-affirming Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot, by Amy Yeo, explored the purgatory of post-graduation life with grace and laughter, whilst EZRA, by Stella Green, explored anti-Jewish sentiment and past trauma through an incredible script that is set to go far.
Theatre Paradok’s inspired production of Mouthpiece, telling the tale of a serendipitous and life-changing encounter atop Edinburgh’s Crags, pushed Edinburgh’s theatre highlights beyond Bedlam by staging the affecting piece in the Augustine United Church. EUSOG’s imaginative performance of Into The Woods also took audiences far away from normality with an enchanting fairytale musical that delivered on the company’s reputation for superb execution.
An exciting tone has been set for what’s to come in Edinburgh’s student theatre scene. This season has once again proved that the city’s thespian reputation is well deserved — students are making sure of this.
Image: Emily Lowes