A really cracking production of David Hare's The Blue Room by Level 3 Theatre Arts students last night, setting a very high benchmark for what we hope is going to be an exhilarating year of student work.
The philosophy of Drama St Mary's work is that students move from dependence on staff led input in Level 1, through interdependence in Level 2, to creative independence in Level 3. If tonight's work is a sign of things to come, this is one part of the curriculum and planning we've got spot on.
Fluidly directed by Sarah Marr there simply wasn't a weak performance and it was clear that each moment, line, instant had been explored and made sense of. The particular challenge of the piece for young actors comes in representing the specific intimacy of each scene, finding for their characters the thin line between anxiety and joy that each of the forbidden encounters provokes. That this was achieved with such a sense of conviction and ease is testimony to the company's developing craft and the trust that they must have put in Sarah.
There were a couple of stand out performances. Claire Austin, built on the excellent Hermia she delivered in Spring, to bring an unstated nuanced sense of inevitability to the drug fuelled teenage model. Natalie Standing, who played the actress, found moments of real complexity and truth in her work and Jack Fisher, was pretty much on the money as he explored the tentative, but ultimately empowering journey of a young student liberated by sex, firstly with the family au pair and then an older married woman, ably played by Bianca Barrett and Courtney Conlon respectively.
Really good work.