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A love for the stage: SUDS perform ‘Emma’

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On the evening of April 4 SUDS (Stirling University drama society) took to the stage of the Playhouse at MacRobert to give the audience a pleasurable performance of ‘Emma’ by Jane Austen. 

Eilidh who played Emma told Brig:

“Maddie and I realised we share a mutual love of brooding toxic men…and the regency era…has plenty. We drunkenly bonded over our love of the 2020 EMMA movie and realised how much fun it would be to see our friends take on this story. The show has a great selection of characters, who are all equally as important within the story. They all develop throughout, and our cast have really brought them all to life. Overall, and most importantly, it’s a really fun story. It’s been a nightmare couple of years, and I think Maddie and I both really wanted to bring a bit of fun back to people’s lives, whether part of the audience or part of the cast. EMMA is fun, mischievous, awkward and romantic; however, it isn’t the typical romantic tale, one of the biggest and most important connections within the story is friendship”.

Emma is a beautiful and intelligent young woman, (although has the tendency to be self-deluded when meddling in others romantic endeavours), living at Highbury with her father, Mr Woodhouse (played by Edward Macmillan) and their long-time companion and trustee Mr Knightley (played by Michael Williams).

credit: Hannah Coyle

Emma soon becomes friends with a kind and naïve girl, Harriet Smith, and decides that she will use her matchmaking skills to find Harriet the gentleman of her dreams – despite being warned off meddling by Mr. Knightley.

Meanwhile, many old and new guests appear in Highbury, such as Miss Bates’s (played by Ellie Scoffield) ‘perfect’ niece, Jane Fairfax (played by Ceinwen Hemingway – Brunt), meaning the group must prepare for a ball. Throughout her matchmaking, Emma realises she isn’t always as right as she used to think she was, and she might be a bit…oblivious when it comes to playing cupid but the audience must ask the question, will she ever realise that love is right under her nose?

Eilidh captured the real essence of ‘Emma’ as a young women who has the leisure and power to intervene in the romantic lives of those around her. Her enthusiasm and passion for her role was evident throughout the whole performance and even when she slipped up or forgot a line it did not stunt her ability to connect with her sophisticated and compelling character.

Credit: Hannah Coyle

The charismatic performance of Frank Churchill (played by Daniel Brammer) brought an engaging and warm connection with the audience. His sly winks, head nods, and brazen eye rolls added a pinch of fun to the serious toned scenes.

But without a doubt the hilarity throughout the show came from Edwin Macmillan, his remarks on the chilly weather and catching a cold in almost every scene had the audience laughing plentiful. His demeanour gave the whole show an added essence of fun, love and above all he seemed to put the other actors at ease with his humour. 

The performance was not without its mishaps, but what performance is, perfection is overrated and mishaps allow us to remember the tiresome work and passion that goes into these shows. If anything the way they held themselves and carried on was testament to their professionalism as a cast, and their enthusiasm for the art they were creating.

Each and every character brought something special to the performance and is a credit to SUDS but for me Ceinwen Hemingway- Brunt’s moment on the piano where she played and sang was a memorable moment indeed, you could have heard a pin drop in the audience and all eyes were on her. It was a truly beautiful scene. 

It is clear that SUDS are a passionate, hard-working, community where team work is at the heart of everything they do.  

Feature imgage credit: Hannah Coyle

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