Edinburgh Fringe 2017 - The Unravelling
This year's Edinburgh Fringe Show was The Unravelling by Fin Kennedy;" In an urban fabric shop, a dying mother challenges her daughters to weave her the greatest tale, using nothing more than pieces of cloth. Little do they realise that their prize is far more than the shop itself – it is the power to write their own futures."
Final rehearsals took place at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond in July. The cast endured four days of intense rehearsals to polish our show to Edinburgh Fringe standards. Mrs Cochran-Patrick lead rehearsals with Miss Darling and Miss Dickinson assisting. Our festival experience began with a late night technical rehearsal, which was our only chance to practise in our venue and arrange our lighting and sound cues. We then began our five-day run of the show and were lucky enough to receive full or near-full audiences every day - a real triumph at a festival where the average audience size is eight! We were visited by a number of Old Girls and parents who kindly came to support the show. The girls' hard work to promote the show, by flyering every day on the Royal Mile and our efforts to set up our purple monster (the king of the underground) on the Royal Mile had clearly paid off. One reviewer posted: "This performance by a troupe of teenage girls is highly polished and definitely worth seeing. Stars of the future. Highly engaging and entertaining. Really enjoyed this rendition. Go and see for yourself." The group had the opportunity to make the most of all that the Fringe had to offer, enjoying a range of performances from Theatre Ad Infinitum’s production of The Odyssey to the popular Education, Education, Education by the Wardrobe Ensemble. A huge thank you to the friends and family who came to support us and to Mrs Rebecca Cochran-Patrick for all her hard work in bringing the show to life.
Edinburgh Fringe 2016 – Twisted Tales presents The Company of Wolves
Mrs Cochran-Patrick lead the direction on this project with Miss Holly Darling taking the role of assistant director / producer. Rehearsals took place at school and at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond during the summer holidays. The cast of eight LVI girls and a UVI sound designer performed Angela Carter’s The Company of Wolves. We performed under a new theatre company name – ‘Twisted Tales’. This marked a new era in Edinburgh Fringe shows for St Mary’s. The girls performed at The Space on the Mile at 12:35 pm every day between the 8th and 12th August. We re-imagined the play as a kitsch 1950’s educational, cautionary tale for girls. The show featured a guest actor in the play in the role of the wolf.
The performances were a great success; here is a selection of quotes from the reviews that we received over the week:
“The play visually is absolutely spot on. All dressed in reds, whites, and blacks, the ensemble clearly embody the original Red Riding Hood story. Snow White also shines through, another bloody fairy tale with a more dark edge than seen in mainstream tellings. The group have succeeded in evoking Carter’s point that whilst folktales function as cautionary tales, they also show a darker human impulse to stray from the path.”
“Holly Darling’s script is beautifully written. The narration comes alive in the rich descriptions of snow falling and of the everyday rural life. The play is full of innuendo for the audience to chuckle along with, and reflects Carter’s love for double-entendre.”
“Carina, this play’s Red Riding Hood, is also a talented performer. At once wide-eyed and coy, she perfectly gets across the young girl’s naive innocence that masks a budding sexuality her grandmother finds frightening.”
“This is an enticing production cleverly staged with some wonderfully fresh ideas. There is a physical theatre element to the performance which brings it to life with very few props. The motorbike in the first story is particularly clever and works excellently with the aesthetic of the predator of that tale.”
“The work of the ensemble is pleasingly collaborative and generous, with performers gelling together harmoniously.”
“In line with the historical oral tradition of fairy tales, the piece celebrates the very art of storytelling. As with Carter’s satirical style, the performance does not take itself too seriously, and therein lies much of its charm”
The full reviews can be found here:
Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Comedy Sketch Show with Trestle Masks
In August 2015, three LVI girls; Hebe, Anna and Romily, under the direction of Mr Edward Cousens, performed a four-day run of their show Comedy Sketch Show with Trestle Masks at the Space on The Mile. This was following a two-day workshop in school with the renowned Trestle Theatre Company, where the girls learnt the masked performance skills needed to create their show. The experience which included the girls flyering on the Royal Mile to drum up an audience for their show gave the girls a real insight into the wider performing arts industry.
Edinburgh Fringe 2014 – Venus Flytrap Productions presents The Brown Felt Hat
It's 1942 in a British seaside hotel. The owner, a domineering, self-made businesswoman, drives herself and her small staff to the limit. Will the arrival of her sister and niece expose the secrets, truth and reasons behind her malice? Ultimately the visitors are forced to face one of their greatest fears: to return to the bombing. It may be a step too far. As a beacon which helps the wearer to escape the hostility and adversity, the brown felt hat is a symbol of good times, of wellbeing, of self-esteem and of never-ending optimism.
Edinburgh Fringe 2013 - Venus Flytrap Productions presents Out to Lunch!
Some of 2012’s UVI Form's leading actors returned to The International Edinburgh Fringe in August to premiere a play especially written for them by Lilian leadbetter, Director of Drama.
The play, based on five female characters, is entitled Out to Lunch! and is described by Miss Leadbetter as ‘A Dark Comedy about a Light Lunch’ – think Made in Chelsea meets Hammer Horror!
After rehearsing the play with Miss Leadbetter at RADA in London, the ensemble took the show to a great venue just off The Royal Mile. Performing to enthusiastic audiences, the play ran from Saturday 3rd to Wednesday 7th August at The Space Venue 9 on Niddry Street. The great actors – Charlotte Bell, Matilda Ellis, Ella May, Victoria Price and Nicola Randall were ably supported by Production Manager Kate Le Fevre, as well as Mrs Rhiannon Davies and Mr Camron Miller – who also made guest appearances on stage… The whole project was a resounding success and we are indebted to all ensemble parents, especially Mr Johnny Price and Mrs Sarah Le Fevre for their wonderful help and support.
The Out to Lunch! team returned to Calne in December to play an excerpt of the show as part of Finale, the December theatre production. Miss Leadbetter plans to write a series of short plays about women and their friendships played out in social settings, of which Out to Lunch! is the first.
Edinburgh Fringe 2012 - Venus Flytrap Productions presents Macbeth Unsexed
Madness, mayhem and murder played out by an all female cast of ‘lady-killers’. Shakespeare well seasoned with black widow humour and a pinch of Artaud thrown into the pot! Tragedy retold from the perspective of Lady Macbeth, the witches and a band of female murderers - real and fictional - transported from other times and literature. Think: Shakespearean Killer Queen meets Myra Hindley, Medea and a host of deadly beauties. Hell hath no fury like this! Caustic comedy by the drop-dead gorgeous sirens of Venus Flytrap Productions – from St Mary’s Calne. The Scottish play as never seen before!
Macbeth Unsexed is a very powerful evocation/adaptation of the Scottish play with emphasis on the dark humour of Theatre of Cruelty, incorporating Physical Theatre and music. The story is told from the perspectives of Lady Macbeth, the witches and a host of female murderers (real and fictional) taken from other times and literature. It has fast pace, requires minimal props and is flexible in terms of theatrical space. The ‘Venus Flytrap’ ensemble is very strong, with a great line-up of lead actors from the current LVI Form: Charlotte, Matilda, Olivia, Nyasha, Victoria, and Nicola.
The show which evolved from the students’ own scriptwriting for A2 Level, is both comic and poignant, fun, thought-provoking and, in the end, quite terrifying!