“it has left a very positive impression of Phoenix Theatre”

One of my first, and by far one of the best experiences of student theatre I have had took place in the humble venue of Fountains Hall in Grey College. Bedroom Farce, depicting a “party gone wrong” that “spirals into a cheating scandal”, showcases the best talent and skills of direction that Durham Student Theatre has to offer. 

We see the highs and lows, and complex interweaving of the relationships of the characters: party hosts Kate (Lali Rhydderch) and Malcom (Flynn Harris Brannigan), Ernest (Henry Jones) and Delia (Scarlett Nellist), parents to the toxic but hilarious Trevor (Oggy Grieves), husband of the intense but sweet Susannah (Paloma Hoyos), as well as the dramatic Nick (Mollie Finniear) and Jan (Penny Cairney-Leeming). The entire cast did a fantastic job, and the fast pace and comfortable dialogue and physical interactions between the characters made the relationships between them convincing and the play did not have a boring moment. Despite the complicated interweaving of characters and stories, there were never any moments of confusion, scenes that felt like worlds apart to the audience took place, in reality, mere feet away from each other. I would like to especially mention Scarlett Nellist and Henry Jones playing Delia and Ernest, whose interpretations of an old couple had the audience in fits of laughter, especially the characterization of the old man. Scarlett’s physical acting of the old woman was very also impressive and showed her age and personality perfectly.

Bedroom Farce didn’t take itself too seriously, though covering the difficult subjects of the failure and stagnation of dysfunctional relationships, which it represented in an incredibly nuanced and realistic way. The humorous elements were also a huge success with the audience, combined with the talent of the actors involved, the technical aspects such as sound effects had the audience roaring with laughter. The team impressively managed to create a very intimate and domestic feel with a minimalist setup, and this atmosphere in the set of three different beds for four different relationships was successfully achieved. With seamless and innovative transitions between scenes, the whole play felt natural and unforced, with clever use of the space provided in the venue. The use of versatile mood lighting and dynamic, well timed sound effects added to the production quality. In conclusion, a really comfortable atmosphere was created in the venue between the audience and the production. Refreshments were also provided, and the crew greeted us all at the door, who were very friendly. 

Overall, a spectacular outcome was achieved, especially considering such a small team and the limited time in which the production was put together. Considering the joys and success of the play, it has left a very positive impression of Phoenix Theatre and I will absolutely be going on to attend more of their productions in the future.

By a Durham student

Photo Credits: Phoenix theatre company