On Friday 9 December, after three weeks of workshops, production and rehearsals, Bath Spa University’s Theatre Society hosted an evening of original material before the Christmas break. Scratch Night means a performance where aspiring playwrights, directors and actors test out their new writing on a live audience – with their only hope to beg, borrow or steal props, time and equipment. Showcase Editor Olivia McAdam was in attendance for the warm-hearted production of comedy, drama and debauchery.
© Olivia McAdam
The opening moments of the Scratch Night saw Oliver Robinson-Sivyer lifting the audience’s spirits with his charming yet mischievous manner, introducing the crowd to the first Scratch Night performance of the academic year.
Like all childhood rivalry, A Tale of Two Sisters – written by Beth McKeeman and directed by Alex Latham – portrays the turbulent relationship between a fiery redhead (Ashleigh Malone) and her equally blazing blonde sister (Louise Payne). Feeding off one another’s temper and tantrums, things quickly turn sour as the girls grow up, leaving a tense and bitter atmosphere as the overlooked student squares up to her imperious older sister.
After a ten-minute interval and a change of scene, the second act of the evening Mr Harlow – written by Nic Morris and directed by Nikitas Vasileiadis – took place. After a ‘could-have-been’ theatre owner (Derekk Ross) and a determined director (Morgane Dessaigne Salmon) get together, they drunkenly agree to put on a performance.
Of course, their conflicting views are forgotten after spending an evening bonding over a bottle of whisky. The frantic director, Toni, and the outdated Mr Harlow left the audience cracking up with the slapstick humour and somewhat inebriated farce.
© Olivia McAdam
The final sketch of the night was Apex, written by Kieran Haines and directed by Conrad Pollock. It begins with the audience innocently watching two acquaintances sharing small talk over a coffee. Suddenly it becomes a murder scene; the lead character (Oliver Robinson-Sivyer) is unveiled to be a hitman and laces his contact’s (Ash Walsh) espresso with ricin. Earning, as he put it, ‘enough money to buy a half decent microwave’, Apex was something to wet the crowd’s palate as they wait for a follow up performance in the future.
Overall, the society was skilled in setting an hour long show of mood and comedy making the night a little Christmas cracker. So if you want your Friday nights to be fuelled by drama and tipple, keep a look out because Scratch Night will be returning in spring 2017!