Drama Festival 2015

The second night of the NUTS Drama Festival opened with Sauce, a play centred round six students sitting in the library, with voiceovers projecting their inner thoughts. The voiceovers were sharp and funny, and incredibly relatable – from justifying scrolling through Facebook for another 5 minutes before starting to work, to checking out hotties sitting nearby. Rambunctious, brass, and cheesy in a good way, Sauce provided a laugh-out-loud start to the evening. With YOLO hats, discussions about anal, and three multi-sexual kisses in the end minute, what wasn’t there to love?
Dog Treats was up next, where retired Terry Hamilton is visited by an unexpected and ominous visitor late one night. Through cleverly adapted flashbacks, and illusory conversations, the audience were led to see what Terry’s dodgy past career involved, and what fate might meet him that night. A slow start to the play nevertheless developed into a complex production that not only thrilled with its MI5-style plot, but also raised thoughtful points about deception, family life, and true happiness. A particularly well-worked moment was a flashback to the younger Terry making small-talk with the wife of a man he’s about to murder, who slowly draws him out his reserved, professional shell by asking about his wife. We felt Terry’s real pain when the husband returns, and he walks off to stage to murder them. Moments of light humour relieved the audience well when needed from the heavy topic of the play.
The penultimate play of the evening, 6hrs 54mins, was nothing short of absolutely bloody hilarious. Five students share a car pool to London; the beautifully dick-ish ‘sick lad’ Ed, stuck-up Scarlett, Millie who just wants to please, quiet nerd-boy Nick, and the stressed-out driver Joe. Over the course of the journey, the group get to know each other surprisingly well, and it turns out there’s a bit of good even in the worst of them. Flowing on a incredibly cleverly written and side-splittingly funny script that was delivered with perfect comic timing by the cast, there was barely a second during the play that didn’t have the audience in fits of laughter. The characters were the perfect stereotypes of themselves, and poignant revealing moments stopped the play from being just one big laugh and made it into the perfect comic.
The final play was the one NUTS are taking to Edinburgh Fringe, If Only Diana Was Queer!, so high expectations were aroused. And they weren’t let down. Instantly arresting was the beautifully designed set, that abounded with detailed props and colour, and the three flamboyantly costumed drag queens on stage. The play provided a perfect mix of bawdy sexual humour, not unaided by three men cavorting around in lipstick and high heels whilst slapping their bums, and touching flashbacks to teenage boys dealing with the problems of unsettled lives at home, family issues and living in children’s homes to escape abusive parents, as well as the trials of coming out the closet. The three main drag queens were supported by an unbelievably flexible cast who slipped perfectly into the varying extra roles demanded in the flashbacks – including a I-might-be-sick-I’m-laughing-so-hard scene where an ‘inspired’ drama teacher takes on the character of a un-born baby, and enacts being ‘squuueeeeeeeeeeeezed out THE VAGINA’.
All round, a fabulous collection of plays that off-set each other well – if the audiences reactions were anything to go by, the night was a roaring success, and we’re looking forward to next year.