Although staged in one of the smaller venues in Edinburgh, Traverse 2, the ideas tackled by this year’s PASS College HND students are by no means an equal feat. Enticed to "join the quiet”, welcomed to our golden years, and faced with the reality of our defining burdens, the audience joins the three casts as they wave goodbye to their time at Performing Arts Studio Scotland and step into the creative industry.
The trio of devised works opens with the musical soundings of The Quiet, a band whose lyricist, Megan (Faye Ryden), was indefinitely hushed three years ago by a mysterious occurrence. Her story is not one told often, and those who need to know do, but when the infatuated curiosity of a new band member begins to play out, an unexpected reality comes to light.
Directed by multi-award winning musical director/composer Gordon Dougall, it is no shock that the strength of this piece lies firmly in its mellifluous composition. The vocal talents of the ensemble act as a platform for mute Megan’s disposition, whilst the harmonies created by the female quartet, Sally Cairns, Shona Brodie Hill, Myfanwy Morgan and Ruth Murphy, overshadow less polished performances.
The second piece could almost be the off casts from the Still Game cutting room floor, with the youthful faces embodying geriatric idiosyncrasies. With focus placed on the retention of memory, the cardigan donning, bingo playing senior citizens recall memories and offer advice to their friends, relatives and former selves.
The inherently Scottish humour and weaving of interconnected scenarios glues the Survivors of the World characters together in a sketch show format, giving each character and actor their moment in the spotlight. Comic timing and characterisation not terribly different from Karen Dunbar and Catherine Tate’s repertoire can be seen from the elderly gossips portrayed by Megan Porter and Claire McCarragher. Balanced between the plaintive and the playful, sentimentality survives the pensive pace of this piece.
The culminating countdown performance Burdens deals with the anxieties and woes that help define our personalities. The trepidation and honesty of the characters filled the 24-minute piece, providing resonating qualities for every audience member.
Parading their talents and skills in a such a prestigious theatre would be a dream for any graduating student, fortunately for these young professionals and their audience, PASS College’s training and guidance has polished off another group of actors ready to battle their way through the biz.
Event: 22-23 May, 2016