Dramatic success at Edinburgh Fringe
14 August 2012
LJMU Drama students have been drumming up support on Edinburgh's Royal Mile for their production, 'Pool of Blood', a show taken by LJMU Drama to the world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Members of the cast, dressed in their costumes, performed excerpts from the show on one of the special stages designed to give audiences a taste of the wide variety of theatre and performance which is on offer during the Festival, and the cast and crew spent many more hours out and about in Edinburgh, talking to Festival-goers and other Companies, promoting the show and pulling in the audiences. 'Pool of Blood', written and directed by Andrew Sherlock, co-directed by Ros Merkin, and starring Lew Llewellyn and a cast and crew of students and recent graduates from the Department, previewed in Liverpool to much acclaim before transferring to the Fringe, finishing its run at the Surgeons' Hall, Edinburgh, on Saturday night.
The show, which unearths gruesome and sinister links between Liverpool and Edinburgh, received a four-star review from FringeGuru, one of the key reviewers of the Festival, who described it as, 'a proudly gory, spectacularly camp Grand Guignol, with a very talented cast and great songs.'
StageWon's critic said,
"If you want a mix of gore and laughs, this is the show to see. It's a very British tale of dark forces and dark deeds intertwined with music hall and a few good giggles. The musical numbers were performed beautifully, the harmonies were all spot on, and the gore was also really realistic. Without giving too much away, decapitating somebody live on stage is a pretty impressive feat.
All of the acting was brilliant, and the band were excellent at keeping the whole atmosphere of the piece constant throughout, some members even jumping up to be extra characters. The variety of accents was wide but accurate, and Claire Bryan’s portrayal of Desiree was beautifully executed and had me hanging off her every word.
It's a great show to see for an evening of entertainment, but make sure you're prepared to really go with it, because it takes you to places you will probably have never been before, and so is not completely to everyone's taste. But, if you enjoy the taste of blood, it's more than right for you."
EdFringe Review complimented the performances of all the cast,
"The show is clearly a labour of love, and as such gives a real immediacy to the notion of the music hall which represents a family to its lost performers. The cast possess an electric and lovable capacity to put all their energy and effort into their performances. Watching them work together and truly enjoy their roles is lovely, especially within the context of the Fringe, where such chemistry is often pushed aside in favour of stoic acting and pretentious scripts."
Similarly, the show went down well with audiences, as one audience comment from The List, demonstrates, with its five-star review,
"Wow. I was so pleasantly surprised by this wonderful combination of theatre and blood that I am already planning to watch the show again! My first praise goes to, of course, the acting. As I am American and visiting the UK for the first time, I was worried that I wouldn't understand the British humour which I have been told is used all the time in british theatre. However, with the use of actors/actresses with so much talent and bundles of energy, they allowed the dark humour to really come to life through the use of props and typical english accents which really made their characters shine throughout the whole play. This reflected on the audience as many members couldn't contain their laughter, myself included. Also, something that really stood out for me was the musical attribution towards the show, as an aspiring song writer myself, I really found that the music helped explain the story and the voices of the actors/actresses were very strong throughout. In all, the play was a huge success with the audience and myself and should definitely be enjoyed by everyone who has the chance to see it, a huge achievement to to the cast and people behind it, well done."
More than a dozen students from the Liverpool Screen School took time out of their summer break as cast and crew for the production, which ran for two nights of previews and then the first full week of the Festival. This is the first time in many years that the Drama Department has taken a production up to the Fringe, and it was a unique experience for all the students involved. As Charlie Fenton, deputy stage manager for the production commented,
"Getting the chance to take part in the Fringe festival was something that I will never forget, it gave me a chance to see the industry at first hand but also how much hard work goes into putting on a big production like The Pool of Blood. I am very grateful for the experience and feel it has benefited me greatly."
Judith Jones, Director of the Liverpool Screen School said,
"For our staff and students to be promoting and performing a show at the hugely competitive environment of the Edinburgh Fringe when they could so easily be taking a holiday says much for their passion, determination and enthusiasm, and the show's success demonstrates the high level of performance, ability and commitment of the Drama Department, both staff and students."