Lara Gregorians checks out the new talent brought together at UCLU Culture Club’s annual inter-arts showcase
This Saturday saw UCLU Culture Club return for a second year with their Freshers’ Showcase. For one night only, a host of UCLU Arts societies shared the stage, gathering a selection of their fresher intake to perform short snippet pieces, demonstrating what each society does best.
UCLU Drama Society kicked off the show performing 15 of the 57 micro scenes that make up Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information. Each scene, unrelated to its previous, lasts no more than a couple of minutes, and focuses in on two individuals mid-conversation. The whole cast was pretty strong, definitely not phased by their newbie status. The actors were funny, focused, and very comfortable with one another on stage, showing great versatility playing a number of different roles across their scenes.
Highlights came from two girls hysterically fangirling over their favourite celebrity, and a pair dancing, shouting and tripping-out in a club-scene (N.B. it’s no easy feat to un-awkwardly turn the front quad marquee into Corsica Studios). Their expressions and dedication to the roles were exceptional, and (purposefully) set the audience into complete hysterics. Moments of seriousness and composure were also demonstrated masterfully, particularly through a scene that followed a schizophrenic that thought traffic lights were communicating messages to him. The audience were silenced and captivated.
Next up was UCLU Musical Theatre, who performed snippets from their 24hr Musical, Grease. All four singers were, to be honest, pretty dang fabulous. Vocals were absolutely on point, and there was plenty of sass and charm thrown about the place. Of course it’s next to impossible to replicate that John Travolta and Olivia Newton John magic, but our Danny Zuko and Sandy had their own cute back and forth going on.
UCLU VOCE Gospel Society performed a small ensemble version of Thou O Lord. It kicked off with a nice and soulful male solo, but was unfortunately followed by some slightly off harmonies, and the general vibe that none of the performers really wanted to be there. They might’ve just needed a bit of time to warm into the song, as the performance did improve with progression, but I know we didn’t see what VOCE is really capable of.
The surprise crowd pleaser of the night, however, was UCLU Film Society. For the past two weeks, Film Society has been working in collaboration with UCLU Hindu Society to produce a 5-minute original Bollywood style film, and the lucky Freshers Showcase audience got to see a rough-cut version. But when I say rough-cut, I do really mean Rough. Cut. Pieced together in one week, the film was quite clearly still in need of heavy editing, but I can’t deny that it all added hugely to the film’s charm. I often wasn’t sure if I was meant to be laughing, but hey, if the whole audience is doing it…
Editing needs aside, the thought and direction behind the film were commendable, and the cast did a great job of bringing the Bollywood energy to campus. I only wish that I too could have a posse break out into mass Bollywood style dance whenever I felt emotion, or, you know, finished a lecture.
A big shout out must also be given to UCLU Stage Crew and UCLU Rare FM, who kept the evening flowing with transition tunes and, as always, seamless stage management.
All in all, UCLU Culture Club’s Freshers Showcase was an enjoyable evening that gave us a little taste of what’s to come with the year’s new talent. It was by no means a blown out Bloomsbury production (RIP), but the informal, supportive atmosphere added to the whole evening, and gave the freshers a warm welcome to the UCLU arts scene.
Featured image credit: Danté Kim