TRASh: “Funny And Slightly Ridiculous”

Helena Wadia enjoys a night at the theatre with Bristol Drama Soc’s first major show of the year.

Photo: Jamie Corbin

TRASh is Dramsoc’s first big show of the year, and what a way to start.

Presenting 8 chronological play extracts from 8 decades and roughly two hours of theatre altogether, Dramsoc have started with a bang.

Rarely losing focus in the two hours, TRASh held the audience’s attention and tickled their funny bones all night long. When the whole audience is not afraid to laugh out loud at a play, you know it deserves to be onstage.

The production was not afraid to mock itself, promptly presented by its parody name ‘The Really Arty Show’. The actors too mocked themselves – whether purposefully or not (yes, we all noticed when you forgot your lines, and yes, we all thought it was very funny too).

Two sketches, the 1950’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ and 1980’s ‘Noises Off’ were both play-within-a-play types in which the actors acted acting to great comic effect.

The performances of these two failed rehearsals were both funny and slightly ridiculous at the same time.

Both extracts handled the stereotypical very well and credit must go to the directors for creating the superb comic timing that generated raucous laughter, and the actors for their quick character development in such small extracts.

The comedy continued for almost every play, perhaps bringing a slight lack of variety to this student theatre production. Although each extract was memorable, many were on a similar thread of fast paced comic one-liners.

The four men in Neil Simon’s ‘The Odd Couple’ used this to their advantage and had a magnificent on-stage energy, the 2000’s extract of Mullarkey’s ‘Single Sex’ was similarly fluid and wonderfully awkward, and Rosenthal’s ‘Bar Mitzvah Boy’ was again stereotypically hilarious.

The 1990’s extract, ‘Art’, consequently stood out somewhat as, although humorous, had serious undertones and refreshed the audience engagement in a production full of almost clichéd gags and light-heartedness.

Photo: Jamie Corbin

The aim of TRASh is to present a huge show early into term, with the goal of cramming as many new faces into the production as possible. In this way, you have to expect varying quality from extract to extract.

As long as you entered with the expectation of a fun night at the theatre, you got what you came for. This is in fact how TRASh presents itself: with 12 directors, 11 producers and countless actors, this giant show was created in just four weeks, and was well worth the minor £4 charge to see it.