Blue Elephant Theatre
Reviewed – 6th November 2018
“the unfaltering energy and enthusiasm displayed by these performers was incredible”
The rich and complex nostalgia evoked by Ugly Bucket Theatre’s Bost-Uni Plues is something truly original and remarkable. This production captures the overwhelming emptiness that can be felt after leaving university, interrogating and challenging the notion that getting your degree is “the best three years of your life.” Told through voiceover from interviews with real students about their personal experiences of university, Bost-Uni Plues engages its audience with high energy physical theatre as it explores unspoken mental health issues that face many graduates today.
The play follows three clowns, played with humour and humanity by Angelina Cliff, Canice Ward and Grace Gallagher; we see the clowns in their first awkward meeting in halls, we see them take drugs in Freshers’ week, watching their whirlwind journey up until graduation, when they are thrust into the abyss of reality, away from the comforts that once defined their existence. The performers are denied a voice, allowing their expressions and movements to tell their story – the unfaltering energy and enthusiasm displayed by these performers was incredible, and their performances were laced with real comedy and emotion whilst also feeling very individual. As the play went on, we begin to see past the clown and the past the mime to see the complex human beneath.
The direction from Grace Gallagher, who won Best Director at the 2018 Liverpool Fringe, feels genius and unique in a landscape of naturalist, and realist, theatre; the black box stage never once felt empty as the performers were able to fill the space with their larger than life presence. The play deals with a subject that young people find difficult to talk about – those post-uni blues – and this is why it’s so special and no doubt why it won Best Production at Liverpool Fringe 2018. University can be an amazing time for many people, but this show evinces the need to talk about that odd sense of loss once it’s all over; the confusion of where to turn, the relentless rejection, the disappearance of friends. Though perhaps the show doesn’t go as far as to offer us the answers to solve all these issues, it goes a long way in opening up the conversation.
There’s a real concern that theatre is less and less appealing to the youth of today, and Bost-Uni Plues gives us a solution to this problem; tell stories that are accessible, tell stories that are relevant and tell stories that matter- stories that have the power, in their own, small way, to change lives.
Reviewed by Tobias Graham
Blue Elephant Theatre
Previously reviewed at this venue: