Michaelmas Show of the Term

It’s the moment you have been waiting for! Which production won the much coveted Durham One Show of the Term award?

Awards CTC DULOG Freshers play

Well everyone it’s the moment you have been waiting for! Which production won the much coveted Durham One Show of the Term award? Before we reveal the winner we must say thanks to everyone who voted, over 300 of you casts votes for your favourite play. The top three then…..

3. Oh, What a Lovely War!

What a fantastic start for debut Director Matt Dann, here are some of the remarks from the One’s Douglas Gibbs…

‘Luckily for a play that above all requires a universally strong, energetic group of actors,the cast display a unique camaraderie which is ultimately the production’s greatest success. They are, as a group, a very strong bunch, but it is clearly Matt Dann’s direction that shines through, uniting it into one of the most cohesive large casts that I have seen in the Assembly Rooms.’
‘Despite my initial scepticism, Matt Dann has provided a great deal of hope for the future of DST. Oh what a lovely relief.’

2. Pirates of Penzance

DULOG’s Gilbert and Sullivan Musical comes in a stupendous second place in Durham students’ hearts. But what did the One’s Caroline Gaunt think?

‘I must firstly commend the orchestra, who, under the expert leadership of Musical Director Seth Miall, were note perfect from beginning to end and simply a joy to listen to. Miall’s dedication and hard work was evident throughout – musically, Pirates of Penzance does not put a food wrong. From Elissa Churchill’s (Mabel) soaring soprano to Jamie Woollard’s (Sergeant of Police) exquisite bass tones (‘When a felon’s not engaged in his employment’ was, for me, the highlight of the entire show), the leads are absolutely captivating throughout the musical numbers, which are further enhanced by Emma Cave’s choreography.’

‘DULOG’S Pirates of Penzance is a truly excellent show – hilarious, warm, captivating and beautifully sung, I can only congratulate Julia Loveless and the rest of her production team for resurrecting Gilbert and Sullivan and producing such a fantastic evening’s entertainment.’

1. The Bacchae

CTC’s production takes first place in our competition however, congratulations to everyone involved. The One caught up with Director David Knowles and asked for his reaction. He told us,

‘I’m thrilled, it’s a lovely feeling to think that people really enjoyed what we did. I cannot thank everyone involved enough; Ben Rowarth’s music was spectacular, Sinead O’Leahy’s choreography subtle and simply gorgeous to watch and Anna Bailey’s advice was invaluable. I must also extend so much gratitude to Paul Moss without whom, the production simply would not have happened.’

But what did Grace Cheatle, the One’s own reviewer, think? Here is her review in full,

A play where the human psyche is laid bare and insanity pervades all areas of society, Euripides' 'The Bacchae' is possibly one of the most emotionally exhausting productions I have seen in Durham thus far.

The ancient Greek play has been placed within a minimalist set, allowing nothing to distract the audience from the unfolding horror; such a performance space – a bare, in-the-round platform surrounded simply by ivy and torn manuscript – ensures focus on every action on stage whilst adding a timeless feel to the piece.

The directorial staging is an immense feat. Rarely does a performance set in-the-round manage to connect with each member of the audience, but somehow David Knowles (director) and Paul Moss (producer) are able to keep every person utterly enchanted and involved. The imposing atmosphere of Castle's great hall aids the monumental essence of the play and Nower's stark lighting, casts formidable shadows on the walls creating a spectacle which is, at times, frightening to watch.

Personally, I found the scenes of the Bacchae themselves to be some of the most disturbing. Their erotically charged madness is portrayed predominantly through the superb choreography of Sinead Leahy. Whilst they dance and writhe in near perfect unison, their unique characters still shine through, reminding the audience that, though the madness is communal, it is individuals who are afflicted. They work wonderfully together in building frenzy, mirroring one another in their heightening of drama and each should be commended in their choral as well as personal performances.

Emotional resonance was simply abundant within the production; Joe Burke's depiction of Pentheus I found one of the most striking. Utterly dominant as a stage presence, he is menacing but still with undercurrents of vulnerability. A truly marvellous performance which is acted through the eyes as well as the body. Cadmus, beautifully played by Fergus Leathem, is the tender heart of the production, whose wrenching sorrow at the close of the performance was felt by every member of the audience.

As an aural backdrop to the spectacular scenes on stage, Ben Rowarth has devised an incredible merging of the modern and the classic within his composition. The stunning musical execution by both choir and quartet adds an ethereal edge to the production. It elevates the drama even further, propelling the powerful speech of Coryphaeus (Eleanor Paradimos) to new heights. The addition of the atonal in Rowarth's music was a perfect reflection of the dissonance on stage; as the actions on stage became harder to watch, the music became harder to listen to, creating an all-consuming atmosphere of discord.

'The Bacchae' has been magnificently reawakened by Knowles and Moss and their production is breathtaking in every aspect. Each theatrical element encompasses the ancient with modernity, the rational with the insane, precision with the raw. It infiltrates the audience, leaving them wary of ever being wilfully 'drugged with madness', for the tragic aftermath of monstrosity is just too great.

It just remains for us at the One to say thanks to everyone involved in DST this term. It was a huge success and none of us can wait for all the shows of Epiphany term!