Robin Geddes directed the St John’s Cupper’s play, the exceedingly enjoyable Making a Scene. Starring Martin Urshel, Mayank Banerjee, Claudia Hill, William Law and Caitlin Farrar as actors making inter-rehearsal drama of their own in the theatre toilets, Making a Scene was an overall very well acted and at times, hilarious, look into the personal lives of these wonderfully manipulative characters. The scene was set by a toilet flush before the lights opened on a row of cubicles, cleverly represented by a use of chairs, cut out cardboard toilet seats and a large amount of well executed mime from the cast. An especial highlight of this invisible toilet door set up was when the character Sophie, a young 16-year old girl on her first foray into professional theatre, stuck her foot out from under it in order to signal for more toilet paper. The audience found this a greatly funny in its true-to-lifeness, as did I. More importantly however, the mimed cubicles let us see what was going on the toilets, whether it was Mayank snorting cocaine as failing Hollywood star Alex Riley, or Martin Urshel and William Law, as John Riley and Michael Aikley, using talk about their different styles of peeing to discuss the women characters in the play. This doubletalk was splendidly received by the audience with ripples of laugher as their “piss talk” got steadily more and more pointed and innuendo laden.
Performances of especial note would include Caitlin Farrar as cold hearted and manipulative actress Helen Archer. She placated, incited rage and generally played the whole cast with delicious ease in a strikingly naturalistic performance that was never forced, and used the different levels in her voice to great effect. Props also to her and William Law for really going for it in their snog scene, which, when not interrupted on cue, forced William to banter with the audience “It would be great if we were interrupted right now,” provoking giggles all round. Martin Urshcel was also magnificent in his camp rage as the clichéd, accented director despairing at the ways of actors, with proper force behind his throwing down of Michael in the final showdown. The finish with lines from Uncle Vanya was probably the weakest part as it could have been said with more finality, but in such a strong performance this is hardly a criticism. Overall a skilfully-acted play that left the audience with a feeling of quality. Well done John’s!