Review: SUSU Theatre Group presents 'The Knight Who Smells Of Sunflowers'

  Theatre Group’s latest instalment, their Freshers’ Play, ‘The Knight Who Smells of Sunflowers’ an original play by George Bearpark attempted to showcase the society’s talent across the board; acting, […]

2 stars freshers' play group knight of review smells sunflowers susu theatre group the Theatre who

two stars

 

Theatre Group’s latest instalment, their Freshers’ Play, ‘The Knight Who Smells of Sunflowers’ an original play by George Bearpark attempted to showcase the society’s talent across the board; acting, writing and directing. 

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However, instead of propelling the other, each aspect hindered the next – the acting was rather poor and so the writing wasn’t showcased, the script was so bad the directors had nothing to work with and the direction was minimal therefore limiting the actors.

A brief synopsis: ‘The Knight Who Smells of Sunflowers’ is Mr Hammond’s GCSE class’ self-written play which is to be graded at the end of the performance. However, disruptions to the performance are soon caused by arguing parents, relationship issues backstage and Mr Hammond’s reactions to the performance.

The idea behind the play showed promise, it had the ability to relate to a lot of people. Certain aspects of the play, if developed further had potential. For example, I particularly liked the 4 dimensions to the story line – the parents in the audience, backstage, onstage and the in-between. I found the in-between sequences particularly brilliant. The in-between parts of the play were owned by the characters Montague and Maude (Jamie Martin and Robyn Fryer respectively). Their comic timing and stage presence outshone everyone else in the cast. What hindered having these four dimensions was the fact that they were pretty much visible to the audience throughout the play, all together. This was certainly a unique idea, however it gave the audience too much to look at and too much to take in. I often found myself coming back to where I was supposed to be concentrating way too late to understand what had happened.

Credit: Will Cook

Credit: Will Cook

The story line of the play also confused me to no end. To be honest, apart from the brief synopsis, I don’t think I could explain what I saw in any sensical way. The storyline between Katie (Danielle Garlick) and Johnny (Joe Pound) was acted well, however jarring it became. Jonathan Clark who played Rory gave a consistent performance, reminding me of Simon from the famous television comedy-drama Misfits. The description of the characters as consistent couldn’t be further from the truth. The characters didn’t change, they were all 2D sterotypes. I felt no sympathy nor anything that resembled a connection with any of the characters with perhaps the one exception of wanting to run on stage and punch the character Sam, played seemingly perfect by Alexandru Mazare.

Credit: Will Cook

Credit: Will Cook

The play unfortunately dragged, 30 minutes in and it could have easily finished. What would have benefitted the play would have been a better build of events throughout. The story went straight into its climax, and stayed there for 2 hours before treating us with what seemed like a Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King style ending with about a million endings.

It was evident though that the whole cast and production team had a great time, for a Freshers’ play, they seemed to get it right. However, I don’t believe the actors, nor directors were particularly challenged at all, I would suggest allowing original pieces to be performed later in the year, to allow for further development amongst the actors and the script.