LUDS Presents – ‘Still Life’

The Tab’s review of Liverpool Uni Drama Society’s first play of the season, ‘Still Life’

You may be the biggest theatre buff on campus, but sitting through a 3 hour play is never fun. Once you can’t feel your legs, it’s officially gone on too long. That’s why it’s always nice to have a short, snappy, 1 hour play so readily available and accessible to everyone.

It’s even better when it’s performed by the brilliant young actors at the Liverpool Uni Drama Society.

An older LUDS cast in last year’s ‘Woyzeck’

Originally performed as a 3-part cycle intended to be shown over 3 evenings, Still Life holds up excellently on its own. The whole play is set in a train station café, meaning distractions like scene changes and huge casts are unnecessary, letting the audience focus on Noël Coward’s famous writing and the actors’ performances.

Presenting the doomed relationship between an upper-class housewife and a married doctor, while placing it alongside the happier and much funnier love affair of two of the station’s staff, it’s a simple and fun play, perfect for a casual evening’s entertainment.

The only downside wasn’t in the acting, but in the venue. Tucked away in the James E. Brown room, behind the Guild bar, the room felt far too small. All the seats are on the same level, meaning a particularly large-headed audience member can block a whole section of the stage if you happen to be sat at the back. It’s a shame that the Guild can’t make better provisions for its hardest-working and most exciting Society.

Still, it says a lot about how good the cast were that everyone still left blown away. LUDS stars Iona Campbell and Barney Eliot were clearly the highlights of the play, with the rest of the cast doing an excellent job as well. A fantastic scene with Jack Conway and Reuben Green playing two boisterous soldiers in search of booze was worth the entry price in itself.

Barney Eliot, who played Albert in ‘Still Life’, here in last term’s ‘Agamemnon’

Still Life is unfortunately finished now, but the next LUDS production, A Resounding Tinkle, is on from the 14th to the 16th of November. It’s being performed in the Guild’s Stanley Theatre, a much more appropriate venue, which will fix the space issues that Still Life had. Even if it’s half as good, it’s absolutely not to be missed. When it’s £4 to get in, you can’t really afford to either.

Get there early, as people routinely queue out the door for a seat. Once you go, it’s easy to see why.

Many thanks to everyone at LUDS for kicking off this season in style.