Wednesday, March 14, 2007

There's a thousand parts to play...

To the Streetlife Museum to take in some site-specific performances by Hull College's current crop of drama students. For the uninitiated, some parts of Streetlife are like a scaled-down version of York's Castle Museum's Victorian street scenes or a shorter, squatter more internal version of Beamish. It's a space that, with its old cobbles, shop fronts, railway signal box, transports of delight and fusty smells does sort of lend itself to a performance. So that's what's happened - the students have come in and devised a few scenes to go with different exhibits so that, for two days, the public can witness history coming alive. A bit like London Dungeon, then, really, but without the torture devices (well, depends on your view of students, I suppose). There's a chance to watch some daft bat putting her ration book to good use to buy some cardboard food, William Wilberforce sticks his oar in to remind us who he is and we even got caught up in an air raid. "Hurry, hurry, run to the shelter" one young actor was screaming at a motionless, expressionless and mostly unappreciative queue who refused to shift their minds back to 1943. Luckily we did get in the shelter and, amid the bombs dropping FX, we were offered a rendition of We'll Meet Again. Sadly, while we were in there winning the war with our British spirit, a young female performer suffering the ignominy of working the room in a pair of very itchy looking 1940s shorts and playing a lad had taken a direct hit from a load of bricks and that was the last s/he saw of the Blitz. On the whole, the experience was a bit of a laugh and, as you'd expect, some of the students were more talented than others. Early on in the tour one did burst right out of character immediately after their act with the audience still looking on, telling her fellow student, "I wish you'd stop making me laugh when I'm doing this." The odd visitor to the museum did try and swim against the tide and a few pushed passed us, sneering and jeering and being rather too stupid to realise that their trip could have been enhanced if they'd only joined the audience.

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