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February 2005
Some Sort Of Beautiful
Chess was a central theme of the play
Chess was a central theme of the play

Some Sort Of Beautiful

Old Fire Station Studio Theatre
40 George Street,
OX1 2AQ, Oxford

22 - 26 Feb 2005 19:30pm


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Oxford University Drama Society

New Writing Festival

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By Tim Bearder

Remember when the Vikings used to raid our shores and carry away our women and children to a life of slavery? No, you won't but you know it happened. Well last night there were points when I found myself yearning after those hazy days.

To be frank having the door kicked in and being carried away by a burly brute to forcibly row his boat would have been preferable to enduring parts of this play.

So in general it wasn't great but nor was it all bad. No one involved should give up life in the theatre there were just times when it didn't work.

Let's remember that this performance was part of the Oxford New Writing Festival and was quite probably the first play Oxford Student Corinne Furness had written. So experimentation and "risk" should always have been a key ingredient in the performance.

And bits of it came together nicely. What had been insightfully observed was that when people talk they often don't finish a sentence, they chop and skip between subjects and rely heavily on communal knowledge which the audience must then infer.

For the best example of this watch Spinal tap, it's all scripted but sounds like it's been improvised - pure genius.

The trouble with Some Sort Of Beautiful was the technique was used to such extreme effect that much of the play seemed garbled, stilted and confusing. In trying to make realistic conversation the opening scenes plod awkwardly while the audience were left piecing things together.

It gets meaty and involved in the middle and Harry played by Pete Munro gets to grips with each of the cast in turn. This allowed them individually to demonstrate a particular flare. Sadly after that the dynamics unwind towards an utterly pointless and unfulfilling end.

Having just completed my first play I feel bad about say all this but I realise that without these opening gambits you don't have an arena to make the mistakes that hone later pieces so I tip my cap to the cast for a good effort and look forward to the next outing which I'm sure will be a big leap forward.

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