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Colloquium

by on 2 August 2022

Hot-Seats of Learning

Colloquium

by Katherine Stockton

Cavendish Productions at Hen and Chickens Theatre, Islington, as part of the Camden Fringe, then at The Golden Goose Theatre, Camberwell until 6th August  

Review by Heather Moulson

A Colloquium is by definition an academic meeting of specialists, and this was the exact setting that took place in Oxford University. 

During the interviewing of two potential candidates for a place in the English department, there are clashes of brilliant minds, arrogant candidates, overtones of resignation, and internal power games.  There is a stand-off with a weary professor in his last year, and a maverick younger colleague who indeed sees things very much outside the box.  The wry humour excelled during these encounters. 

The intense short play Colloquium, debuting in Norwich in 2018, had a sold out run at the Bread and Roses Theatre as part of the Clapham Fringe that year.  Writer Katherine Stockton has an impressive background, namely a winner of the 2020 Snoo Wilson Prize for scriptwriting among other triumphs.  Director Steven Bowyer is an Associate Director of Flux Theatre, and involved in assisting emerging writers to showcase and develop their work. 

Subjects of these terse interviews, both candidates are seen in turn.  The first is a very diffident girl from Wales.   A complete contrast to her self-assured opponent, she is slyly clever, if over-guarded.  Her wary looks, stance and tense body language wears a little thin as the plot progresses.  However, the complex encounter cum interview with the older professor is beautifully done.    

There second interviewee is a brilliant undergraduate with deep connotations of struggling with a mental breakdown.  He delivers a vibrant monologue of eclectically rich content, including his stepfather’s pub quizzes.  This is cleverly done, especially as it involves going head-on with entrenched academia.    I would have liked to have seen more of this charismatic actor. 

Camden Fringe 2022

Unfortunately I felt the lacking in other areas, where scenes felt misplaced and uneven to the point that they lost their pacing.   However, the writing was strong enough and had real potential to get the valid points across.   Skilfully directed by Bowyer, the cast were strong and intelligent, in this nicely placed study of modern-day academia

Heather Moulson, August 2022

Photography by Miles Mycroft

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