Saturday, 19 June 2021

Students are almost ready to graduate with new musical

Students are almost ready to graduate with new musical

A Romantic’s Guide to the Apocalypse | Minghella Studios, University of Reading | Wednesday, July 18

THE Reading University Drama Society have done a good job.

Led by recent graduate Huw Smallwood they have created, written and produced a great piece of work, A Romantic’s Guide to the Apocalypse, which will soon be heading to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Surprisingly, the cast are not all theatre students, but they were not lacking raw talent and the production was well choreographed and rehearsed.

Each member bought something different and special to the piece. Patrick O’Callagahan was a real gem, so full of energy, his face must have hurt by the end of the hour-long show.

Melis Blackford produced stunning vocals, Erin Kavanagh balanced comedy and some special heartfelt moments, and Teddy Turpin was considered and utterly charming.

I think it’s a great piece of work. I am not convinced it is yet the best it could be, though.

New theatre needs time to develop — time to try lots of different things until you are sure you are left with truly the best possible piece. I am not sure it is quite there yet.

I loved the opening of the show. The cast talking about creating the piece, bouncing ideas off each other. It was funny and clever but perhaps it needs the same at the end?

The cult (but not a cult) scene was genius. The songs, written by Jess Martin, were overall very strong — We Stick Together, Breathe and What Shall I Paint stood out for me.

But my major sticking point was the love story. Was it truly love or was it just convenience?

I never really saw the love between Ben Carter as Jack and Catherine Lane as Zoe. That is no discredit to their performances, more a question as to whether it was the right love story to end the world with. As a true romantic myself, I wasn’t convinced.

If you are going to Edinburgh it is definitely worth a look and I hope the team have a really successful and enjoyable run.

A Romantic’s Guide to the Apocalypse is playing at fringe venue 36, theSpace on North Bridge, from August 13 to 18. For more information and to book, visit

Daisy Smith

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