JAMIE HARDIE reviews UCL Drama Society’s Eigengrau and Girl in Yellow Raincoat at the Bloomsbury Studio.  Drama Society’s term three double bill in the Bloomsbury Studio was a fitting end to the 2017-2018 academic year. From the fearful uncertainty in Girl in Yellow Raincoat, to the clash between feminism and predatory masculinity in Eigengrau, the production seemed an accurate reflection of the confusion and conflict that has filled our headlines in recent months. The evening began with Penelope Skinner’s Eigengrau, a disparate, irreverent, and at times gruesome tragicomedy concerning the lives of four entangled characters. The central struggle of the play is between manipulative lothario Mark (William Mead) and staunch feminist Cassie (Aude Naudi-Bonnemaison). The performances are strong: Mark is skin-crawlingly authentic, while Cassie is brought to life with fiery passion. In contrast to these tough characters, the touchingly melancholic Tim (James Fairhead) and the frenetic and scattered Rose (Ema Mulla) stack up as the casualties of Mark’s callous antics.…Continue Reading

EIGENGRAU / GIRL IN YELLOW RAINCOAT

ANYA JOHNSON looks at the ins and outs of the enduring stereotype of the woman in the kitchen.  One of my mum’s favourite things to do before she goes to bed is to scroll through recipes that the Guardian puts online from time to time. My dad loves to do the same. But I’ve come to notice that only one party is able to put this pastime into practice. I have either cooked with most of the women in my life or eaten food that these women have cooked for me. I’m not sure I could say the same about the men in my life. I’ve found that man’s transition into the kitchen requires two things: a willing man to do some cooking and a willing woman to let him. I fear there is inequality in the kitchen, and I argue the unwilling woman plays a role that society has overlooked.  And…Continue Reading

The (roast) Chicken and Egg of Feminism

ABDUL RASHIDI reviews Awolnation’s new album, Here Come the Runts After their most notable hit was hijacked by the now deceased app Vine, Awolnation are back with a new album, Here Come the Runts, continuing to add an unusual sound to the rock genre. The band has navigated their way through changing line ups and tour cancellations to find their footing once again and live up to the expectations set by their mammoth track ‘Sail’. ‘Passion’ is the lead track from this record and has already charted on the alternative rock charts. With falsetto-filled verses, the track suddenly escalates into a sharper, electrifying chorus. Written by lead vocalist and longest standing member, Aaron Bruno, the song was a response to a journalist who criticized the band’s 2015 album Run. Speaking to MYP Magazine, Bruno discussed how a particular review of the last record had affected him: “I read a review…Continue Reading

Awolnation – Here Come the Runts

DANIEL LUBIN reviews In the Shadow of the Mountain at the Old Red Lion Theatre. In the Shadow of the Mountain opens with Ellie grasping Rob from the edge of the tube platform as he teeters on the brink of suicide. The ensuing conversation is comically bizarre. Writer and actor Felicity Huxley-Miners perfectly captures Ellie’s manic yet charming character, and David Shears plays Rob clumsily navigating her excited urge to help him. The two of them inevitably disappear to bed together soon after. The show follows the unrelenting turbulence of a relationship between two individuals traumatised by past romances, and sets itself up to discuss the experience of those struggling with mental health problems, and of those striving to support loved ones. This expectation remains, however, unfulfilled. In reality Rob seems only slightly upset at best, and Ellie’s Borderline Personality Disorder, while at the centre of the narrative, is unexplored. In this capacity Shadow fails…Continue Reading

In the Shadow of the Mountain

SELMA REZGUI reviews the second night of Reclamation at the Bloomsbury Studio. A multi-disciplinary celebration of BAME writers, directors and performers at UCL, the second night of Reclamation is an unambiguous success. The line-up includes original poetry, plays, monologues and improvisation, covering an extensive range of themes, settings and genres, all created or performed by BAME students. The first piece of the evening is This Must be the Place, written and directed by one of Reclamation’s organisers, Ava Davies. The short play comprised a series of scenarios, performed by three actors who flow impressively between roles and scenes. The play takes on what it is to be mixed race, to be exoticised, not white enough, not brown enough, to be attacked for being a black woman standing up for herself and derided for not doing so. Each instance, taken by itself, is not individually much to write home about; these encounters are so woven into the…Continue Reading

RECLAMATION

ELEANOR LEE talks about her experience volunteering with The Hackney Pirates, and the crucial role of such charities in the face of cuts to education spending. What immediately struck me as a volunteer for The Hackney Pirates was the imaginative and innovative approach to supporting each young person’s education. At this East-London based charity, the focus is firmly on developing young people’s literacy skills and building their confidence as a result. The Hackney Pirates run after-school sessions Monday to Friday that either take place in a dark cave-like space called ‘The Deep’ or in ‘The Navigator’s Office’, a room filled with globes, maps and treasure chests. The design of the centre, which includes a shop that is decked out to resemble the interior of a ship, creates a vibrant learning environment that is completely removed from school. In every session, a young person, known as a ‘young pirate’, partners up…Continue Reading

THE HACKNEY PIRATES

RUBY HARROP discusses the developments of UCL’s Fossil Free as part of a wider campaign to promote divestment from the fossil fuel industry and reinvest in renewable energy.  UCL publicly states in its ‘Green Environmental Sustainability Policy’ that it is committed to conducting itself ‘ethically and fairly, and in an environmentally sustainable manner, locally, nationally and globally.’ Simultaneously, it invests £12.1 million in the fossil fuel industry, including companies such as Shell, BP and Rio Tinto. The disparity is shockingly hypocritical. Why would an institution completely undermine its purported sustainable, ethical values in its funding from companies that danger human health and the environment? Climate change is fast escalating into a global problem that inflicts the most malicious harm on those most vulnerable. The sea level rise that results in severe flooding and storms, agriculture deterioration and damage to human health affect a disproportionate amount of the the world’s poorest populations in the Global South. I need…Continue Reading

UCL: Fossil Fools

SELMA REZGUI reviews The Sea at the Camden People’s Theatre. ‘Waiting for a connection.’ I’ve often joked that the tinny and plaintive voice that comes out of my Bluetooth speaker when I try to hook it up to my phone is a tragically relatable symbol of urban millennial life. In his latest play, Thomas Froy uses this same tinny voice to expose an epidemic of loneliness, reliance on technology, and of being alone in a sea of people – and how the only meaningful connection in a person’s life can sometimes be their internet connection.  This sparse production, which Froy also directs, interrogates the nature of urban isolation in a digital age. It opens with a film projected onto the theatre’s back wall: a series of shots of London, both images of the City and the pockets where nature seems to be tentatively reclaiming the space, rendered in muted tones and accompanied by immersive music. The…Continue Reading

The Sea

ISABEL WEBB speaks to Raniyah Qureshi, the founder of AWOMENfest, a three day feminist art festival that launches this month. Picture the scene: nestled in a DIY arts venue in Peckham, a group of rugby lads sit around a table to discuss the relationship between tears and feminism with The Colour of Madness Project. In the next room, more of these men – stereotypically masculine and disengaged – compare notes on the artwork of Damaris Athene and Fee Greening, whilst others, perched in the zine corner, soak up the atmosphere and contemplate the body positive life drawing session they just attended. This is AWOMENfest founder Raniyah Qureshi’s ideal for the new feminist festival. “The people you want to come the most are not the ones who are already engaged. In my dreamworld, the room would be full of rugby lads who don’t give a shit.” This might seem like a…Continue Reading

AWOMENfest: Radically Soft

Assistant Director GEORGIA GEE tells us what to expect at UCL’s 2018 dance showcase, Exhibition This year, UCL’s Dance Society has gone beyond the traditional notions of movement to create a show that takes inspiration from a variety of artistic forms. Exhibition celebrates the fusion of dance with other creative media, such as literature and visual art. The show’s three motifs, ‘The Written,’ ‘The Visual,’ and ‘The Object,’ required choreographers to create a dance stemming from a source of artistic inspiration, such as a poem, a painting or even just a commonplace object. Back in November, after presenting our concept, I could never have expected the diversity and multiplicity of bids we would receive. From a re-enactment of Picasso’s Guernica as a tap piece, to the translation of sign language into contemporary movement, the ideas were innovative and thorough. Since then, choreographers have used their initial stimuli to create and…Continue Reading

Exhibition

DANIEL LUBIN interviews NICK FERRIS and LOVIS MAURER about UCL Drama Society’s upcoming production of Electra. The 5th century BC, Ancient Greece. The 1970-80s punk rock scene. 2018. UCL Drama Society’s upcoming production of Sophocles’ Electra will merge ancient Greek tragedy with the iconic era of punk rock. I spoke to producer Nick Ferris and director Lovis Maurer about the marrying of these two periods, and about rebellion in the past, the present, and the play itself. The team originally picked the play for all the potential that Greek drama holds, and its adaptability. “The way they’re still so powerful,” Nick says, “is that they discuss timeless themes”, something undeniably true given the quantity of ancient Greek drama on the current London stage. “In this way they really lend themselves to reinterpretation in exciting and effective ways”. “I always found an interesting epic nature that all Greek plays have and I like that…Continue Reading

Electra Interview

SAVAGE Sounds presents ‘Mental Health’, the second podcast from George Horner and Alizay Agha. In this mental health-themed edition of the podcast, we hear from Comparative Literature student Charley Katan, who reads some of her poetry and discusses how she channels her relationship with mental health through her work. We also speak to Lissa Eve Darby and Harriet Cooney from the SANE UCL Black Dog Campaign. SANE is a leading UK mental health charity that seeks to improve the lives of anyone directly or indirectly affected by mental illness. The Black Dog Campaign is SANE’s UCL anti-stigma campaign, and battles to demystify the stigma around mental health. For more information, see the SANE Website, Black Dog Campaign Facebook page and UCL: Fund Our Mental Health Facebook page. UCL Psychological Services were contacted but declined to comment.    Other services available are: Samaritans Helpline: 116 123 UCL Psychological Services  London Nightline:  020 7631 0101 For a full list of mental health helplines,…Continue Reading

PODCAST: MENTAL HEALTH