Art School, dir. Chris Duffy, 3-5/12/2018
I saw STaG’s production of Boudica on its opening night. Earlier that day I had learned that this was the first time the play had been performed outside of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, where it premiered in 2017.
Having been to the Art School a few weeks earlier for the STaG Nights: Shadows festival, I was impressed by the transformation the venue went through, as they had converted the stage into a thrust which really helped create an immersive experience as the audience could witness the action from all angles, especially in the fighting scenes, which were brilliantly choreographed and brutally graphic, with gushes of fake blood spurting everywhere. The brave audience members in the ‘splash zone’ will have felt right in the centre of the action.
The special effects make-up (designed by Shannon Twiddy) was definitely a highlight for me, with the gruesome and realistic injury detail (like the words carved into the back of a Roman soldier) playing a huge part in adding to the visual horror and savage nature of the play. STaG really went all out to create a haunting and thrilling experience, and the audience loved them for it.
A huge shout-out has to go the talented cast, who were all excellent, especially Jenny Barron for her exceptional portrayal of Boudica, a Celtic Queen who refuses to cower down to the Roman invaders. Barron was truly formidable in this role, giving a 3 dimensional performance, showing both Boudica’s virtues (her undying love for her daughters) and vices (her stubbornness and short temper), creating a very real and human character. Aimée Buchanan and Seraina Schottland were also outstanding as Boudica’s daughters, Alonna and Blodwynn, and were as equally fearsome and savage as their mother.
All in all, this production was a constant thrill ride, filled with action-packed fight sequences, and tense character-led drama. I also thought it was a great idea that the production team decided to support and raise awareness for Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis Centre, due to play’s subject matter dealing with issues such as sexual assault and violence, making the play very relevant to a contemporary social climate.
[Image Credit: STaG]