Our Events Editor enjoyed the fashion concept and overall experience of Welly Ball. Welly Ball (comprising a formal dinner and after-party) is held in honour of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, a charity that raises awareness about mental illness in young people. It also unites the two main St Andrews passions: formalwear and dressing like a genteel farmer, to come together. Having never been to Welly Ball before (and, truth be told, having panic-bought my wellies from a hardware shop the day of the event…) I’d now like to advocate for wellies universally replacing heels as the go-to event footwear. This was probably the first event at Kinkell Byre I haven’t limped home from barefoot, violently cursing the inventor of the stiletto.Kinkell Byre has its limitations as a space but it must be said that the committee made the best of it, attempting to do some crowd-control by transforming the adjoining marquee from dining room into an additional dance-floor with live music and a bar. Music on the main dance-floor was provided by a D.J. My memory is admittedly hazy, but the music choice seemed largely to be nostalgic crowd-pleasers (think the Friends theme song and ‘Breaking Free’ from High School Musical.) As someone whose general rule of thumb for music to dance to is “the cheesier the better,” I have to say I fully approve of this approach. The atmosphere on the dance-floor was upbeat, or to quote one attendee, “super lit”—towards the bar, of course, it inevitably descended into slightly more aggressive, harried territory, with large amounts of jostling in the relatively small reception area.Most of my issues with the ball were the generic issues of any St Andrews ball—bar and toilet queues, having drinks spilled on you, and constantly losing your friends in the crowds. As far as I know, there was no replication of the legendary Barbour mix-up scandal of ’16, although the Welly Ball Facebook page was inundated with the requisite barrage of lost property posts the next day. As a seasoned fourth year I now just generally assume any ball is going to be some form of partially moderated chaos and roll with it; on this front, Welly Ball was not particularly different from any other ball. That being said, I did leave before the ball ended at two and subsequently avoided the true transportation and cloakroom related calamities that reportedly occurred at the end of the night—that dark hour when any Kinkell event stops being a ball and becomes a lot of drunk, tired people in the middle of the hills trying to cram themselves onto a single coach. But again, this is something that even mammoth amounts of organisation can only partially solve. All in all, Welly Ball provides a quintessential, ball experience that’s easy on your feet—and, most importantly, for a good and fully deserving cause.
Our Social Media Manager Mayu reviews the launch event in the re-vamped Beacon Bar for Catwalk: one of the University's charity fashion shows. This season, Catwalk launched a new look and a ‘new vibe.’ In what seems like a rather significant shift from last year’s theme ‘Undergrowth,’ the theme this year explores the concept of “Paradigm” (noun: a typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model). Being a university affiliated event, the launch was held in the Beacon Bar. While popular opinion may not exactly consider the top floor of the Union the ‘hottest’ place in town, the committee embellished the Beacon Bar with an abundance of balloons, fairy lights, portraits of recognizable celebrities and political figures and last but not least, various shots of this year’s models. Additionally, with a live DJ in the back and the newest videography being projected on a screen, this year’s committee gave the often unimpressive bar a unique, Catwalk charm.As a food lover myself, I was delighted to see the glamorous treats laid out on the table: chocolate covered strawberries, iced shortbread biscuits, and vanilla frosted cupcakes – all dusted in gold. The cupcakes were especially impressive; all were donned with a logo printed on sugar. These nibbles were both delicious and popular – I myself had two (okay, maybe three) gold-dusted cupcakes.Another exciting element on the refreshments front was the cocktail menu that featured some original names such as ‘The Paradigm,’ ‘The Philanthropist,’ and ‘Model Behaviour,’ which added some extra glam to the evening. The event began at 8:30pm and started a little slowly – I was concerned, admittedly, at the early start time of the event that I doubted would coincide with the typical student night-life schedule. However, more students began to pour in to greet their model or committee friends as we approached 10:30pm and the much-awaited ‘model reveal.’ As the models started to make their way towards the doors to make their grand entrance into the central area of the bar, there was a change in the music and in the atmosphere, and we waited in anticipation for what was to come. After some rather frantic pacing and motioning to each other and to the models, the committee were finally able to wheel out their line-up for this year. Dressed in black from head to toe, the boys and girls made two adjacent lines, taking their turns to face the crowd. After holding their staunch model faces for the remainder of the song, they ‘broke character,’ so to speak, and dispersed with smiles on their faces, to thank the audience.Catwalk, to me, is one of the most exciting events put on by the Charities Campaign because it adds just a little sparkle that almost makes one forget that the show’s proceeds go to charity. Despite some of the bumps hit immediately before the model reveal, the launch event was a successful one that gave the Beacon a different look and as a result, gave the event-goers a slightly different experience in the venue. In addition to being a great social space to chat to the committee and the models, the launch was a fun and unique opportunity to meet some student models close up and in a casual setting, in all of their varying styles and personalities. While I am still unsure how its creative elements may unfold, I am curious to see how ‘Paradigm[s]’ become manifest in this year’s show.
The Tribe had a great time at the launch for House of Horror (at the Rule) on Tuesday night. We're very excited for the headlining event at the end of the month! As the street lights blinked on and the sun sank beneath the horizon, people started wandering around St Andrews looking for a venture. A quiet had settled about the town - even as you passed the Vic and the Union each in turn were devoid of people. Only a few were seen flitting in and about various establishments or dwindling outside doors with smokes in hand. However it would be wrong to think that this night was to be entirely empty, for it seems all of the lifeblood of St Andrews had been drawn to one place, House of Horror. As I approached South Street a pool of light revealed a crowd of people standing beside The Rule, spilling out onto the street, queueing in doorways, all accompanied by a buzz of conversation and a thrum of music. With the event sold out, and not a ticket to spare, there was an urgency as people jostled to enter in. Passing the entrance one was faced a row of individuals adorned with clown-esque make up, black diamonds colouring the space around their eyes, with red wide smiles to match. Once you’d passed by the committee with your hand stamped with ‘APPROVED’ in fresh blue ink you were faced with quite the sight. People spun and danced on the floor below, clumped together in a ever-moving busy horde while others spilled over the railings on the floor above, in what felt like one enormous house party. While the scene resembled a house party, the decorations said otherwise. Black and white vintage style films projected ghostly figures onto each wall. Stripy monochrome fabric draped over the walls and stairways, bloody fabric and plastic limbs adorned the banisters and red ballon’s ominously floated above head height at this carnivalesque themed frenzy. So the tale of the evening read as follows:In 1911, DREAMLAND in Coney Island, New York was the greatest amusement park in the world. A masterpiece of the senses, it had everything you could imagine: dashing lion tamers and curious incubator babies, visionary gondola rides whisking you to Venice and miniature railroads. But on 27 May, 1911, a new ride called HELL GATE exploded and Dreamland went up in flames. Firefighters battled through the night to salvage the park, but, by morning, Dreamland was nothing more.FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY, WE RESURRECT DREAMLAND FROM THE GRAVE. Dream land has returned and so had its ghosts. Clowns in full uniform, with cherry coloured manes, painted faces and spindly claws roamed the room. Knifes in hand they grinned with uneasy mirth. The attendees were also suited up for the occasion. Women dressed to the nines in lace leotards and ruffled shirts. Sequins glittered on people’s outfits as drinks were poured and the evening ticked onwards, with the nightfever only increasing. Candyfloss was combined with alcohol to form sugary shots aimed to bemused the senses.Various DJs performed their sets, ensuring the sound was always changing, thanks to excellant Quentin Wight, Max Dupa, Tom Hurst, Hamoosh and Anna Massek. From the above railing they blasted the songs we knew and the tunes we didn’t, pushing the throng below into a dizzy. Events like these, where committees are dedicated to portraying a theme are always a real success, as was proved here at House of Horror and at Bacchanalia last term. The whole event was inventive, oddly nostalgic, freaky and bloody fun - I can’t wait for House of Horror to return in all its blazing gore and glory.
Starfields is the first event of the academic year for St Andrews Charity Fashion Show (FS). A six-hour music festival (with a few welcome extras) held outside in Lower College Lawn, it always stands as one of the most hotly anticipated events of the year for new and returning students. Starfields operates as a well-oiled machine. All of the individual pieces of the event, essentially a music festival, were well managed and presented beautifully. The FS committee seemed to take constructive criticism from previous years very well, responding to past complaints of unmanageable queues, tickets not being worth the forty or so pounds, and unease of overall attendance. This year, I, at least, found it easy to get in and out of the event, despite the masses of attendees who poured in throughout the night. This doesn’t strike me as an easy feat; I’ve seen several balls have a difficult time managing hoards of drunk ticket-holders coming in or going out. The venue was well staffed from each possible entrance, and though it was a bit of a long slog getting from the entrance to the academic quad to Lower College Lawn itself, the staff was overall pleasant, patient, and directions were clear. The bar was central, and manned by staff on every side. I didn’t see or hear complaints about wait times for drinks and no one seemed particularly agitated in this regard, certainly speaking to the professional staff and the way the venue was organised. The sides and corners of the venue were filled with more traditionally “music festival” apparatus, and despite the intensity of the crowds and the expected queues for flower crowns, face paint, and food, the variety of stalls ensured that nothing took or seemed too long. It wasn’t overly packed (I've been to balls that have been far more cramped) and was clearly well planned. Guests seemed to appreciate the attention to detail that went into every stand and how, for example, all of the food was clustered together. In terms of comfort, various tables, cushions, and indeed, a ball pit, allowed for space to sit and relax during the six-hour runtime. That said, though the ticket is certainly of value for its product, I wouldn’t say the DJ sets showed a huge variety of style or overall sound. This may be because I’m far from familiar with the house, dubstep and electronic world myself, or maybe the point of the various sets was more to create an atmosphere than provide a setlist of dance-able songs, considering the rather high profile lineup. The attention to detail all the guests put into their individual outfits will hopefully tell the committee, that the publicity and follow-through for this event were very successful. Despite the occasional rain and cold weather, sleek, retro-inspired looks were definitely the aesthetic of choice. It looked and felt fancy, glamorous, and provided the inviting, cool atmosphere that I’ve seen a few balls try and fail to obtain. Perhaps it was just the committee’s experience and the ease of using an outdoor venue while the weather still somewhat permits. Guests were able to be far more comfortable in their own skins than I’ve seen at other events. Despite one person dismissing it as a “hot person party”, I’d say that Starfields was as advertised: a music festival formed by its audience: excitable, albeit typically privileged students more used to a ball than a mosh pit (I think).
Our Social Media Manager, Mayu Hoshino, offers a review of what is generally considered to be a flagship event in a year at St Andrews, the Kate Kennedy Charity May Ball. During my time here, I have come to know The Kate Kennedy Charity May Ball as THE red carpet event of St Andrews and in fact, the fashion is one of the many things that make this particular ball stand out. Some opted for a more formal look with flowing floor-length gowns, taking us back to our glory days at the senior prom. The boys donned the occasional kilt – my friend had the pleasure of learning that although a true Scotsman never tells what’s underneath, he apparently can ‘reveal’ his secret by other means (#cheeky), and some spiffy suits, with some mixing up their outfits with a slightly more colourful bow-tie. The buses left in three stages: 5:15pm for dinner ballots, 7:45pm for VIP, and 8:45pm for the ‘classic’ ticket holders. That being said, I saw many a VIP ticket holder board the last bus, and it seemed to point to a larger issue with the event: checking the category and authenticity of wristbands was not exactly a priority for the security staff, and tales of forged wristbands flew abundant. Although the blame for the pushing, shoving, and ‘forgetting how to queue’ ultimately falls on the often inebriated guests rather than the hosts, I cannot help but think that there might have been some method to make the transportation process smoother – especially on the way back – whether it be more staff or queue barriers. But once we pulled into Kinkell, such qualms dissipated as we saw the rides in full motion, lights flashing and spirits running high.We passed the BlackHorn truck on the left and made our way onto the main area, which offered the usual feel and ambience of any other event held at Kinkell. After grabbing a drink or two, we made our way to the long and rather hectic queue for the ride ‘La Bamba,’ a giant pendulum-like bench. Concern for people’s safety seemed to be lax as the guests made their way with all of their belongings into the seats that were only just secured by the safety bar. As I floated out of my seat, both exhilarated, terrified, and clutching my dress and bag, I staggered off the ride as it came to an end only to find a passport lying on the ground. It belonged to a girl who had been on the ride with us and I can only guess that it flew out of her bag just seconds earlier. Again, although we have a responsibility as guests to be aware and smart about handling our belongings (accessories, strapless shoes, other valuables, etc.), the lack of security notices were concerning perhaps for a not-nearly-drunk-enough and nervous attendee such as myself. Being one of the largest events in terms of attendance, the marquee was substantially extended for the VIP/dinner guests, in which a live band and headlining act, Felix Jaehn, took to the stage. The VIP perks were not crystal clear in the advertisement stages of the event, but to my limited knowledge they included unlimited chocolate fountain treats and Jannetta’s ice cream. As a ‘classic’ attendee, the bulk of my time included parting from and trying to reunite with friends who had access to the VIP section, which is hard to do with the lack of phone signal at the venue. For future attendees, I would probably recommend that to avoid being marooned in one section or the other, plan well in advance alongside a solid friend or group and buy the same type of ticket so you can stick together. Overall, it was an enjoyable night, albeit a little disorganised. I suppose I can only hope that guests carry themselves with more poise for the group’s collective well-being. Essentially, what you’re paying for with the ‘classic’ (which is just a nicer word for ‘standard’) ticket are the basic entrance fee and the amusement rides, which shut down earlier this year to make way for the buses, which also were a little underwhelming for the price of £45. Although the premium tickets priced at £75 for VIP and £95 for the dinner ballot, which is a strain on most students’ finances, the premium options are what set May Ball apart from the rest of the event calendar and are definitely worth saving up for, which is what I’ll be doing next year. After all, it is the Kate Kennedy Club – more is more, and the best things in life are not free!
Staff Writer Anna Tumblety reviews Label's fashion exhibition "Grounded".On Monday, Label ended an ambitious second semester with their fourth event this year. The Grounded: Fashion Exhibition was directed by the company’s co-founder Jo Boon. Grounded was advertised as Label’s ‘main end-of-year fashion show’ on their Facebook event, and captured environmentally inspired designs. It followed the magazine launches and other fashion exhibitions, such as Blown Away, continuing Label’s image of promoting body positivity and inclusivity. Grounded aimed to experiment with what is expected from a fashion show, and clearly, this was achieved.Grounded took place at the Old Course Hotel Conservatory; the location was bright and open, allowing for the space to reflect the landscape and environment surrounding it. The choice of location connected the landscape with the environmentally engaged designers, creating a well thought out continuity between the space and theme of the show. Tables with advertisements and the second edition of Label’s magazine were symmetrically lined up to outline the runway. Stalls from two of the designers featuring in the show were set up at opposite sides of the room, as was a small tea and coffee station — the space was undoubtedly aesthetically pleasing. The beginning of the show started after an hour of waiting and awkward mingling, which sadly left the intimate audience a little confused. The event was advertised as including an afternoon tea, although, what was provided did not exactly meet the mark. As tickets were priced at £45, attendees were not best pleased when there wasn’t an awful lot to show for what they had paid. Despite this, the fashion show itself could only be described as fierce. The opening song, ‘Confident’ by Demi Lovato, set the upbeat tempo of the fashion show at a high. The models radiated in their body positivity and clearly were enjoying themselves. They strutted their stuff in loose fitting clothes, embellished garments, denim patchwork pieces, and printed textile focused t-shirts — to list a few. Kim Kay’s simplistic choreography worked well with the show and allowed the individualism of the models to shine through. The show featured a host of stunning brands including; Casa Lefay, ACHIK, and Bright Accent Jewellery. It was, however, the models’ enjoyment which brought the show to life.The event should be praised for its outreach to designers as it offered a great showcase of young design talent. The opening designer, April Hay, exhibited her textile honours collection with beautiful, sustainable, printed fabrics. Her designs tied in seamlessly with the environmental theme, as her textile prints were inspired by a combination of crystals and natural landscapes. A stand out piece was a black mesh dress, with large patches made from photographs of the inside of crystals. May as a designer is motivated to create a ‘one size fits all’ collection with her oversized evening wear and accessories; the light and flowing fabrics draped elegantly over the models. The opening of the second act brought with it a surge of much needed energy and entertainment; Thrifty Little exhibited their clothing with a drag performance, executed by Bearberry McQueen, a catwalk show which really caught the attention of the audience as many couldn’t resist singing along to RuPaul’s Drag Race tunes. Her collection contained reworked vintage clothing and handmade embellishments — notably googly eyes. Her collection could be described as craft couture. Leather skirts were embroidered with empowering quotes from the Washington Woman’s March, which the designer had attended and used as inspiration for her collection, ‘YOU WOKE THE MONSTER.’ Again, the lack of organisation and clear running order hindered the event, which arguably was slightly overpriced. Equally, the show ended on an awkward note with the final runway sequence needing to be repeated to prompt applause. Grounded proved itself by creating the environmental theme in an ode to the rising popularity of sustainable fashion and exhibition of very talented designers. Creative director Olivia Ives’s music choices were extremely fitting, providing entertainment for both the audience and models who were caught singing along, which achieved an extra layer of positivity. The thought behind the event was there. The dedication and talent of the designers and models was undeniable. Label is an ambitious company but perhaps instead of cramming four good events into a semester, fewer events could instead become fantastic events. Confident, enthusiastic, inclusive mentality. 3/5 stars. Featured Designers:April Hay @textilesbyaprilHandmade jewellery by @Bright_AccentThrifty Little @thriftylittle
As a first time comedy show attendee, I had already heard many great things about St Andrews’ comedians, but did not have many expectations of my own. Indeed, the Alternate comedy show, Joe Irvine’s solo standup performance, was a great place to begin my venture into St Andrews’ comedy scene.The show began at 9PM, and even though I arrived before it began, the seats allocated for audience members were already packed. The show began swiftly and ran smoothly, setting up the show with an opening act by Tom Caruth and his range of impressions. This lasted for around 15 minutes until the star of the show, Joe Irvine stepped onto the “stage” at the Byre Bar.Joe’s show was littered with silly impressions, some dry humour about family and relationships, and, perhaps my favourite bit of the evening – hand-drawn postcards with existentialist captions. Culminating with Joe literally dragging his body on the floor of the Byre Bar, the show was one that left the audience engaged from start to finish. While there were some jokes that to me, personally, were a bit hit and miss, there was never a moment of silence or a negative reaction, and Joe had excellent rapport with the audience members.A perfect example of the phrase “time flies when you’re having fun”, the comedy show seemed to fly by and wrapped up after exactly an hour. There was even a sense that the audience was left wanting more, as they stayed glued to their seats until Joe had to ask them to leave – definitely the mark of a good show.Like I said, this was my first time attending a comedy show in St Andrews, but if the rest of the shows will be of the same calibre as Alternate, it definitely won’t be my last. Rachel Abreu
On April 3rd, as part of the On the Rocks Festival, Amnesty International Society held perhaps one of their biggest events of the year: JAMnesty. An annual gathering of local musical talent, JAMnesty was an opportunity to wind down on a Monday night, while listening to the different musical styles that St Andrews has on offer.One of the most notable things about the event was how smoothly it was run. The event began promptly, with the venue (Sandy’s Bar) already filled with a bustling audience. From then on, the audience was treated to a total of six musical performances, with each act performing for about half an hour each, interrupted only by a quick raffle after the third act. The general atmosphere of the event was quite casual, with a set-up that seemed more like an open-mic rather than a formal concert. This atmosphere actually played to the event’s favour, as acts and audience members could interact freely.While the event showcased a range of different musical styles, some notable crowd favourites were famed a cappella group The Hummingbirds, and Ukulear Fusion, a band that performed some unconventional ukulele covers, from Gwen Stefani’s ‘The Sweet Escape’ to Linkin Park’s ‘Numb’. All in all, every act had something different to offer, keeping the event from becoming monotonous despite its long run time.I’m sure the other audience members will agree: one cannot go wrong with this sort of event. The opportunity to watch such amazing musical talent all in the name of a good cause is one that should not be missed. If you missed it at this year’s OTR Festival, be sure to keep it in mind for next year!Rachel Abreu
Iona Ramsay reviews Attempts on Her Life, Sonder Theatre's final theatre production in St Andrews.
Attempts on her Life by Martin Crimp calls into question our sense of self; dissecting the formation of identity within the context of modern political and technological life. Sonder Theatre's innovative production, directed by Joanna Bowman, stripped the text back to its flesh, delivering a raw and provocative version of Crimp's play.The piece began from the second you entered the space, with an ambiguous voiceover in the background. The voiceover depicted several modes of communication, each adding to the intrigue of the production. As the lights went down, and the audience focused on the stage, we were shocked to find cast members appearing beside us in the seating bank. It remained this way throughout the play, and the effect was completely engaging; the intimacy with the audience transformed the work into an incredibly visceral and interactive experience. What followed was a series of mini sections, with their corresponding titles projected on the walls. The centre of each section was the figure of 'Anne': a shapeshifting (not always human) character. The sections were otherwise unconnected on the most part, with their titles ranging from 'Particle Physics' to 'Porno' (to name just a couple). Each member of the cast had an equally weighted section, and all 14 effortlessly kept in time to the fast-paced, energetic rhythm of the text. A common energy radiated from every actor, and was impressively sustained despite their fixed position.Many of the sections translate as social commentary, often threaded through with an element of surprise. A prime example of this was the section titled 'The New Anny', performed by Shonagh Smith and Benji Osugo. What started as an advertisement for a new car named the 'Anny', began to take on hints of Nazism in its language. Both actors switched back and forth in tone with ease, perfectly balancing the subtle and the politically charged. While I felt many of the sections were skilfully produced, the execution of this piece made it a stand-out section for me.Two sections of play were captured in the fragmented language of poetry, and musically interpreted with Amy Hill's acoustic guitar and captivating voice. The lyrics were displayed on screen, often exploring themes that run through the play. This musical interjection was a beautiful addition, and added to the immersive style of the performance.Throughout the play, the stage area was left unoccupied, with the screen used to project several images of the cast members. The object of this was, I'm sure, interpreted in many ways, but it seemed to hint at the multiple "selves" you can be. This concept was an interesting one, but could have perhaps been clearer in its purpose. Despite this, the staging was visually striking, while maintaining a simplicity that drew focus to the performance.Overall, Joanna Bowman's directorial choices were excellent; succeeding on every level to excite and shock the audience. The cast was perfectly constructed of unique individuals, capable of coming together in a cohesive style and energy. Although Crimp's play does not leave the audience with definitive answers, this production raised many questions in its boldness and difference. Iona Ramsay
Carla van der Sluijs, our Theatre Editor, spends a glamorous yet chaotic evening at 'Strictly Come Dancing,' hosted by the Ballroom and Latin Dance Society.
Ballroom and Latin Dance Society’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ had all the ingredients of a good show. In adherence to the well-known format, new dancers were partnered with experts to perform exciting, intricate routines, followed by feedback and scores from a panel of judges. All the routines were of a very high quality. Aside from some expected nerves, the beginners looked relaxed and comfortable throughout their performances, which is testament to the warmth and encouragement of the society. The message rang clear that, with drive and enthusiasm, absolutely anyone can dance. An impressive range of acts accompanied the performances to keep the show diverse and stimulating, including Scottish dance group Highland Fusion and acapella band Vocal Bandits. Although some of their comedy fell flat, the comperes of the night provided light-hearted entertainment to introduce the various numbers. Sadly, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ suffered from a lack of organisation, which started right from when the show began (late). There were constant mix-ups as to who the next contestant was and although the comperes did their best to cope, they were being thrown in to the deep end. The audience voting system, a key component of the night, felt extremely chaotic. Blank scraps of paper were passed around the auditorium for viewers to write their favourite couple on. However, we were given no reminders of the performers and I ended up simply writing the names I remembered. The judges were another important factor of the show that was addressed disappointingly. Their positioning on the front row of the auditorium left us no view of their faces and although their critiques were interesting, it was a struggle to hear them without microphones. The amazing quality of the dance and other performance acts rescued the show, but its chaos was difficult to ignore. A sense of haphazardness definitely hung over the evening and this unfortunately detracted from it. Despite this, I still left feeling inspired to put on my dancing shoes and give ballroom a try.Carla van der Sluijs
Carla van der Sluijs, our Theatre Editor, reviews Just So Society's impressive production of Urinetown.
Urinetown, directed by Ryan Hay and produced by Danielle Donnally, is the Just So Society’s latest production to hit the Byre Theatre. The storyline of the show is unusual, to say the least, as you may have gathered from its title. This satirical comedy takes place in a town that has notoriously suffered from terrible water shortages. To solve the issue, private toilets are banned and replaced by pay-per-use facilities, which are controlled by the greedy corporation UGC (Urine Good Company). Anyone unable to pay the hefty fees or caught urinating in public is arrested and shipped off to Urinetown: a supposedly terrifying place which haunts the citizens’ minds day and night. The show follows the people’s uprising against capitalist gluttony, whilst teasing out the mystery of what Urinetown actually is. Ryan’s production brings this quirky scenario to life with humour and thrill, whilst still alluding to the satire's ominous undertones. Performances were consistently strong and all vocals were very impressive. Particular mention should go to Jason Gallant as Officer Lockstock. When delivering the show’s narration, Jason was absolutely compelling to watch and he reeled in the audience immediately. He conveyed a strong, authoritative figure convincingly, whilst also having the gaiety to deliver moments of comedy. Often accompanying Lockstock was the intuitive young street urchin Little Sally, played by Rachel Brown. Rachel had a beautifully youthful quality to her vocals that evoked the innocence of her character. Caelan Mitchell-Bennett and Hanna Lawson as Bobby Strong and Hope Cladwell respectively played off each other well as the love-struck young couple that the audience was rooting for. The role of Hope’s father and corporation president Cladwell B. Cladwell was delivered expertly by Connor Powell. Connor successfully exemplified the satire of Urinetown with his hilarious performance and he had the audience constantly in stitches. The costumes worn by this talented cast should not go without mention, as they were consistently realistic and not one stood out as ill-suited. The attention to detail regarding the townspeople’s clothing was particularly notable. Speaking of which, the chorus proved a powerful force on stage and their harmonies were simply beautiful. Routines were well-choreographed by Sarah Greenberg and the energy shone right through to the back of the auditorium. This was particularly the case in ‘Run Freedom Run,’ a catchy up-beat gospel number that made me want to get up and dance! Whilst they performed well as a group, moments of individual characterisation remained valuable to the show and contributed to its comedy. The set was another stand-out feature of the production. The tall, scaffold structure filled the stage comfortably without making it feel over-crowded. Two levels (connected by a pair of precarious-looking ladders) were used effectively to convey the bigwigs of UGC standing high above the poor townsfolk. A sudden moment of running water from the taps of the public facility was remarkable, and showed the careful thought that had gone into the staging.Unfortunately, first night nerves seemed to have made it to the tech box in particular as there were consistent technical errors. Sound levels were sometimes unbalanced, leaving differentiation between the performers’ volumes, and on occasion, I had to strain to hear them over the music. Microphones sometimes switched on partway through a solo or, in one instance, not at all. Though these issues were small and quickly resolved, they cropped up throughout the performance and sadly detracted from an otherwise polished production.Despite this, Urinetown makes for a fantastic evening’s entertainment. The cast and crew created an exciting, fun-filled production, with an added sense of the sinister to question the musical theatre genre as a whole. This bold choice of show absolutely pays off.STARS: * * * *Carla van der SluijsPhoto by Danielle Donnally
Our Lifestyle Editor Rachel Abreu reviews the Blue Angels' 10th Anniversary Gala, their biggest dance showcase.
In celebration of their 10th anniversary, competitive dance team the Blue Angels held a gala on the 28th of March to showcase the team’s talent. The gala included various dance numbers, showcasing the dance styles of ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and hip-hop. The show went above and beyond any expectations one might have about student led endeavours, and was something very professional and quite magnificent.Although the gala was a celebration of the team’s 10-year achievements, the atmosphere of the event was kept quite minimal, pouring all the focus into the dances. Numbers were interrupted only by brief interviews with the choreographers, and overall the show ran smoothly. From the opening tap number to the lyrical and ballet numbers, all pieces performed showcased just how talented every member of the team is. Each piece was highly technical and delivered a story. There were no filler dances or “just for fun” dances intended to amuse the audience for just a few minutes – it was clear that so much hard work, thought and effort was poured into every single dance.Indeed, the audience stayed very involved throughout the show – cheering throughout the dances and offering huge rounds of applause at every chance. It is very hard to single out a standout performance, as all the dances had a different vibe and story to tell. Nevertheless I must point out that the audience response to the advanced performances was loud and clear, which is just a testament to how hard these dancers have worked throughout their Blue Angels careers.Culminating in a brief tribute to the Blue Angels graduates, the Gala was truly a celebration in every sense. It was a celebration of the undoubted talent and commitment of the dancers, and of the art of dance itself. All in all, the Blue Angels have delivered yet another fantastic show, and I have nothing but praise to offer for this event. Rachel Abreu
Gianluca Giammei reviews Glitterball, which he defines a friendly and enjoyable event which he would definitely like to attend again next year.
Glitterball was an event organized by Saints LGBT+ society where people danced and had fun all covered in glitter. Tickets collection ran smoothly and I was quite happy with the fact that we were given two little plastic bags of glitter to use to get ready for the night. I personally loved the silver glitter (which is still everywhere in my house and on people’s hair).This year’s Glitterball took place at the Spanish Garden (9PM-2AM). Rainbow flags nicely decorated the venue. The floor was covered of stripes of all the rainbow colours, which were reflective on the big white tent in which the ball was organized. Moreover, there were strings in which small lights were attached giving the ball an even more glittery atmosphere.The location was divided in two parts: bar and dancefloor. The “bar part” had two bars in which people could get drinks and on one angle there was the coat room, in the other angle the toilets could be found. Something that I wish they had were couches or chairs on which people could sit on, because at some point during the night everyone was just sitting on the floor. The dance floor was well set up, with a stage on which the bands and the drag queens performed. The stage had several colorful lights behind it, well in theme with the ball. The only problem there was with this set up was the incredible amount of lights, you know... sometimes when you dance you don’t want to be able to see everyone clearly.The location overall was really well thought out, however I found the music given a bit disappointing. The bands that performed were talented and they were pleasant to listen to, however their music was hard to dance to. People were asking where Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift were, as I think they would have enjoyed the glitter a lot. The music got dancier when the bands left and the drag queens took the stage. Music easier to dance to was provided and way more people moved from the “bar part” to the dancefloor. I personally was super excited when Michael Jackson came on, but I might be a bit bias.The drag queens did a really good job and their show was clearly enjoyed by everyone present. Something that I found extremely entertaining is that they have taken volunteers up on the stage to dance with them which people loved. It was a lot of fun to watch some of the guests dance “Bang Bang” by Jessie J and other songs together with the queens.Overall, the hosts of the event were friendly and made it enjoyable for the guests. I think that Glitterball, apart from some of the music provided, and was a fun event that I would attend again next year. Something that I should mention is the excitement that people have felt when they were getting ready for the ball. It is really good to have a ball in which you can go crazy with your outfit and there is no limit whatsoever. Gianluca GiammeiPhoto Courtesy of Lightbox
Our Lifestyle Editor Rachel Abreureviews the CATWALK Charity Fashion Show 2017.
Perhaps one of the biggest highlights of RAG Week, Catwalk 2017 has proven to be a thoroughly creative delight.This year, Catwalk 2017 is supporting Frontline Fife Homelessness Services, Anthony Nolan and Women for Women International UK.The concept behind this year’s Catwalk was “Undergrowth”, and took its inspiration from UK Grime culture – a culture that that has divorced itself from the mainstream. Indeed the show did its best to steer clear of monotony and delivered an edge that solidifies its place as a standout fashion show, despite its size.From the get-go, the committee already did a good job of making sure its audience was impressed. The goodie bags that accompanied the tickets were filled with unexpected surprises such as skincare samples and muddled vodka courtesy of Twisted Halo Drinks. If the goodie bags were any indication of how good the show was going to be, then they set some very high expectations – all of which were met.The venue (Club 601) was kept consciously minimalist, something that again fed into the idea of a movement away from the mainstream. What the venue lacked in décor, however, it more than made up for in ambience, owed in most part to a killer soundtrack by DJ Tanya Krotovskaya. Chatter amongst the audience confirmed it: the music was a standout factor of the event.But of course it did not distract from the main event: the fashion. The show definitely delivered on its intention to highlight urban and youth cultures, showcasing everything from independent boutiques to high street brands, such as bold prints from Dazzle & Jolt, kitschy patterns and baubles from Squint, “normcore” and athleisure from Superdry, to everyday wear from Phase Eight and New Look, and even some fashion from student designers. What stood out most to me in particular was the creative way in which charity shop fashion (such as Barnardo’s) was integrated into the show – offering both high fashion and street style alternatives that cost close to nothing. It was a refreshing change from the “exclusive” branding that is usually tied to charity fashion shows.Finally, this article would be amiss without mentioning the diversity in models that audience members were quick to pick up on. The show deviated from the mainstream not only in its choice of fashion and décor, but also in the models themselves. While there were still the expected modelesque figures in the show, it was impressive to see some movement away from the “typical” model body type and to see a representation of different races, heights and builds that again pushed the boundaries and expectations of fashion shows.All in all, the event was ambitious and rightly so, as the committee (led by AJ Brennan) succeeded in delivering an eclectic mix of music and fashion in order to create a truly memorable event.To read reviews from the audience members, check out our interview article HERE.Rachel Abreu
Sarah Gharib interviewsa selection of Catwalk Fashion Show attendees to hear their views about an integral part of RAG Week.
Reem, a 2nd year Social Anthropology student, gives her opinion on the show:“The show was really well put together. There was a good range between the models; they had realistic body types, but I did feel like it could’ve been more diverse. It felt like the models were having a really good time up there - dancing and singing - and it made it natural and they weren’t stiff. I feel like I got my money’s worth: the goody bags had a lot to offer and I had a great time. The clothes were ones that people could actually wear, there was a range of styles represented and I liked the community spirit that came from having St Andrews shops and boutiques in the show. The set up of the show was good and I really liked that the models walked to the sides as well. I only feel like the intermission should’ve come before the lingerie part of the show, as it felt poorly placed. The music was excellent, and wasn’t the typical runway music, and it matched the atmosphere of the show well. Overall, I had a really good time.” Jack, a 2nd year over-enthusiastically drunk student:“I had great fun. Last year it was the best night of the year. This year is almost as good, it’s not better than last year because my best mate was in it last year. The models are so attractive, all of them, the girls and even the guys. It was a great value for money for what it is. The DJ was good; she had good taste in music. My friend who mixes says her transitions weren’t that good but I couldn’t really tell.” Tess, a 2nd year Social Anthropology student:“There was a good mix of beautiful people but they also had figures that weren’t too difficult to achieve, it wasn’t bad for my body image and I enjoyed it a lot. Everyone up there looked like they were having fun and the audience also had a lot of fun. I also felt like I got my money’s worth; the free drink was tasty, the show was great. I liked the set up of the runway in that it wasn’t that big so it created a personal feeling. I feel it should be a bigger show!” Victor, a 3rd year History and Film student:“The show was amazing. I came last year, and it’s constantly improving. It’s way more relaxed than the other shows, it’s more fun. I liked the Scottish themes that were throughout the show. The atmosphere was great, and the DJ was good as well. It was really good value for money, it’s so much cheaper than the other shows but you get just as much out of it.” Comora, a 2nd year Economics student:“I really enjoyed the show. The people were energetic and that translated well to the people in the audience, who built off of their energy. I definitely got my money’s worth - the free drink was good, and I came in on time and got a good spot by the stage, and I loved the goody bag. I loved the set up with the video in the background. It was a really diverse group of models that were attractive but also realistic. It was a healthy mix of people that didn’t feel unachievable. It would be cool if it could be in a different, bigger venue. I liked the intimacy of a smaller venue but it would be cool to branch out and have that vibe on a larger scale.” Chris, 3rd year History student:“It was a great show. There was such good energy from the models and the crowd, and the interactions between the models and the crowd were really good. It had good diversity, especially for St Andrews! I enjoyed the music a lot; it helped the crowd get involved and got their energy up. It was good value for money and not too expensive at all, especially considering all the effort the people put in for it. You got what you expected.” Meredith, a 2nd year Art History student:“The show was great, everyone looked amazing. The clothes were risqué and they got better throughout the show. There was a wide range of models that represented different aspects of beauty. I liked that they went to the corners of the runway as well. I feel like the auction was poorly coordinated, and the intermission was too long. I also expected it to be more crowded. I did get my money’s worth and I really enjoyed the goody bag. I liked the DJ’s taste in music, as it created a good atmosphere.” Nick, a 2nd year Sustainable Development student:“I liked it a lot! It was my 1st time and I had a really good time. I’m not usually into fashion but I enjoyed it. The DJ was killing it; the music was awesome. There were good interactions between the crowd and the models. I would definitely go again.” As you can see, the overall response for the show was quite positive, with only some small critiques for easily solved issues. For a recent addition to the vibrant fashion scene in St Andrews, Catwalk is a departure from the status quo and is paving its own path to become a must-go event on our calendar. To read more about CATWALK 2017, read our opinion review HERE.Sarah Gharib
Nicola Simonetti, our Editor-in-chief, attended Drag Walk 2017, and is excited to share his experience with us. Read our thoughts on the main event of RAG Week!
With RuPaul’s season 9 just about to kick off, even our own St Andrews’s Drag Walk has reached an impressive goal, being renovated for the 4th cycle in a row. There was a lot of expectation surrounding the night, and it surely did not let anyone down. It’s a dark time, politically speaking, but St Andrews managed once more to celebrate its diversity and inclusiveness.The event, taking place in the newly re-designed Club 601 was hosted by St Andrews’s very own Rujazzle. It is no exaggeration to say that the new queens (Nina Noire, the Saint Josephine, Gaymes Bond, Brexatina Trumplania, Maxine Penetrata, Saliva Plath, Violet Palma, Misty Mountains, Scarlett Dynamite, Disastra, Electra Neutrino) stole the spotlight, fighting against each other to steal the title of best drag superstar. Recording a few improvements from last year’s edition, the night ran much more smoothly. The contestants had to parade on a runway and show their best looks while a panel of judges surely had time deciding the new winner, because of each queen’s bravura. But Saliva Bath shone above the rest.Although I still believe that the absence of seats constituted a setback compared to the 2015 show, the organisation of the event was on point and the afterparty proved to be as much entertaining. The winner sure knew how to slay. Sashay away to all the other contestants, but we take our hats off to them for their sassiness.To fully capture the events of the evening, one appearance cannot go unmentioned; Tarkan Bilge’s catwalk in the typical St Andrews’s red gown. Goddesses and humans dancing side by side in one of the best nights of RAG week. Lip-syncing for one’s life has never been funnier in the Bubble, and I am not talking just of the show. The afterparty lasted until 2am as a pretty excited crowd danced until the morning broke.Drag Walk contestants demonstrated to the newbies what doing drag is all about, and, from the positive response of the audience, they seem to have widely succeeded. The cheap price of the tickets (£6.50 for event + afterparty — £1 cheaper than last year) made the event accessible to everybody. In regards to what Ru Paul would say, drag queens obviously know how to love themselves, and hopefully they sent out a strong message to all St Andreans that were present that evening.I, for one, am looking forward to next year! Nicola Simonetti
Wulang Derrida, our very own Events Editor, reviews the first fashion exhibition of the semester by Label, exploring the theme of fire.
If you were lucky to walk down Market Street yesterday around midday, you might have been wondering what was going on as there was a line of people strutted in formal wear in black and red. It was one part of four fashion exhibitions by Label this semester. Some people finally noticed the slightly overcrowded schedule of fashion shows in St Andrews. These exhibitions explore different theme each time, it was each of the model’s personal relationship with clothing as a medium of expression. Kim Kay, the choreographer mentioned that by bringing formal wear during the day on the street of St Andrews would hopefully attract more attention for people to notice and be interested in the next events. “We want it to be as inclusive and accessible for everyone as possible” added Jo Boon, Label founder. Yesterday’s event was free. How refreshing to not spend a penny on a fashion event in this town.The next one will be ‘water’ which explores gender fluidity, then ‘air’ that will attempt to deconstruct class formation and boundaries, and the final one titles ‘earth’ that will celebrate the environmental-conscious fashion. What’s not to love? Label has spoken out loud and clear about contemporary issues that concern us today, by using fashion as a starting point to get their point across is a clever way of getting everyone involved. More than anything, it feels genuine and responsible, although slightly less glitz and glam and a little bit more serious. There is nothing wrong with that, how many more shows filled with champagne showers do we need anyway? Fashion is a wonderful creative medium that everyone can relates to, and one that is especially much loved in St Andrews. Label dares to give us a little extra something by trying to interest us in whatever issues that they address. Wulang Derrida
Our Lifestyle Editor Rachel Abreu reviews the premier event in Childreach International's Taught Not Trafficked campaign.
On Thursday, 26th January at 7pm, Childreach International held the premiere event of their Taught Not Trafficked event at the Byre Theatre. The event was composed of a screening of the film SOLD, followed by a panel discussion including key speakers such as Stephen Gethins (MP for North East Fife).The film, which followed the story of Lakshmi, a thirteen-year-old girl from Nepal trafficked to a prison brothel in Kolkata, promised to be gripping, poignant and at times difficult to swallow. Indeed all my expectations of the film were not just met, but surpassed.From the beginning of the film we form an emotional connection to the young Lakshmi, witnessing her transition from a humble life in a quiet mountain village in Nepal to being, quite literally, thrown into the grim back alleys of Kolkata. What follows is a heart wrenchingly real depiction of what happens to an approximate 32-54 girls trafficked from Nepal every day. The film tackles issues of child abuse, rape, AIDS, and also gives some insight into the stigma that is attached to girls who return to their homes after being trafficked.Although the protagonist Lakshmi was successful in escaping her situation, many girls are not as fortunate. Childreach International aims to prevent other children from such a fate by spreading awareness of the methods of child trafficking. The organization believes that the best way to save the victims of child trafficking is to make sure they do not find themselves in the situation in the first place, and is using films such as SOLD to expose trafficking methods.The event concluded in a panel discussion composed of four key speakers: Stephen Gethins (MP for North East Fife), Bishop of St Andrews Most Revd David Chillingworth, Professor Ali Watson of Third Generation Project and Dr Jeffrey Murer from the University of St Andrews. The panel allowed for some key questions surrounding the film and child trafficking in general to be discussed in further depth, as well as generating further discussion amongst the audience.Overall, the event was a huge success and left its audience visibly changed. If you have not yet had the chance to see it, the film SOLD is highly recommended. For those wishing to keep up with forthcoming events or want to contribute to this cause in any way, like/follow Childreach International St Andrews on Facebook, or join the society at the Refreshers Fayre this Sunday. Rachel Abreu