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Royal Central School Of Speech And Drama BA Acting Showcase 2015

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    An exceptional showcase kicks off with a surprising choice of duologue. The informal cross-examination of young Ronnie by Sir Robert from Rattigan’s The Winslow Boy is a thrilling exchange but Jack Hamilton and Ewan Somers are both too old and too young to be cast realistically in those roles. This is, however, a showcase that demonstrates the range of each actor, with Hamilton popping up later as a shrewd and slightly psychotic Wilson in the Ruffian On The Stair and Somers exchanging British reserve for Scots passion as Malcolm in Dunsinane opposite an equally fiery Dominic Rye.

    Rye is partnered with Serena Jennings in a taut, emotional scene from Tiger Country by Nina Raine. Jennings certainly packs a punch here, as the couple’s problems at work mirror a dissatisfaction with their home life. The clarity of the process and effective use of text to create this expressive rollercoaster of a scene is particularly strong with these actors. Jennings shows versatility too when she replaces frustration with a raw vulnerability as Andrea from Ridley’s Dark Vanilla Jungle.

    Edith Poor and Joe Alwyn pull off arguably the most moving duologue of the showcase, as the young couple dealing with cancer from Nick Payne’s Constellations. A resourceful pair, the two actors seize the moment here, bouncing off one another emotionally to create a perfectly pitched dramatic scene that draws the audience in. In stark contrast, Alwyn buttons everything down for his role as the emotionally reticent Eric from The Man Who Couldn’t Dance.

    Gabriel Winter and Robert Wilde play a neat game of cat and mouse in Caryl Churchill’s contemporary Softcops but the two actors really come into their own with heightened and classical texts. Wilde’s version of The Libertine speech is rich with decadence while hinting at desolation within, while Winter brings a thoughtful vigour to Hamlet’s soliloquy ‘O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!’. Reice Weathers also contrasts a classic piece of text with some strikingly modern drama, in this instance from Ibsen’s A Doll’s House but it serves him less well that his scene from Noel Clarke’s Adulthood. With Jordan Bunton-Williams, this violent moment is a real blast, with both actors carefully controlling the tension and ensuring that there is no loss of clarity in the process. Bunton-Williams negotiates a very different path in a short, but equally charged scene from Football with Shakara Wyatt. The conflict here is about class and the two actors bounce off one another with spontaneity, that keeps the text sounding fresh and relevant.

    Violence and class issues are themes in Pinter’s A Night Out, too, brought to life perfectly by Taylor Frost and Daisy Goody. Goody’s Girl is deliciously snooty and Frost produces a chillingly vicious Albert. Frost demonstrates his range by juxtaposing this with a sharp turn as the rather superior Guy from Julian Mitchell’s Another Country, while Goody affects a West Country accent to play Stephanie, an abusive mother spiralling into a well of nihilism.

    There are plenty of moments in Les Liaisons Dangereuses that fuel graduate showcases and Amy Dunn and Terenia Edwards develop a particularly good relationship as Merteuil and Cecile respectively. Dunn’s arch delivery is never overplayed and it sits well opposite Edwards’ mewling Cecile and the comic timing between the two is sublime. In contrast, Edward’s soliloquy as Hebe from A First World Problem shows a much more venomous side to youth, while Dunn proves an startlingly versatile actor as a frighteningly desperate, suicidal Donna in Taking Care Of Baby.

    It is always good to see actors working together and even the monologues here occasionally feature another actor to lend credibility to a scene. For instance, Rosie Yadid gives Rosie O’Donnell’s wonderfully impassioned speech from Beautiful Girls, made all the more effective by the presence of an actor to bounce-off on stage. Sujaya Dasgupta, however, keeps the focus very much on herself, painting a lucid picture of the inequality of the interview process as Parminder in alumni Milly Thomas’ piece Glass Houses.

    Expert’s choice: Alison Lee of Rossmore Management chooses Terenia Edwards and Taylor Frost

    Paul Vale

    • Fortune Theatre, London
    • January 23
    • Director: Nick Moseley, Claudette Williams
    • Technichal: Miguel Bellanco, Lauren Burns stage manager, Alice Cousins costume
    • Cast: Joe Alwyn, Jordan Bunton-Williams, Sujaya Dasgupta, Amy Dunn, Terenia Edwards, Taylor Frost, Daisy Goody, Jack Hamilton, Serena Jennings, Edith Poor, Dominic Rye, Ewan Somers, Reice Weathers, Robert Wilde, Gabriel Winter, Shakara Wyatt, Rosie Yadid
    • Running time: 1hr 15min
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