Bost Uni Plues uses balloons, tissues and a banana, who happily takes his own spotlight on stage, to introduce the concept of post-uni blues.
Ugly Bucket Theatre Company is a new, Liverpool-based company comprising of three LJMU Drama graduates, Carl Fowler, Grace Gallagher, and Angelina Cliff. Using clowning, movement and verbatim recordings, Ugly Bucket create a darkly-comedic, fast-paced and innovative performance.
The piece follows the journey of a student, from the application process, to throughout their three years, before being hit (quite literally) with September. Bost Uni Plues explores themes of isolation, pressure and the struggles of finding post-uni employment in a time where having a degree no longer means career prosperity. They brilliantly bring light to the feelings of the highs and lows surrounding education and subsequent employment. Despite the somewhat dark themes explored in this piece of theatre, the comedic output had the audience gleefully laughing along throughout.
The energy, commitment and creativity behind the performance was admirable. Using voice recordings of interviews with graduates, Ugly Bucket create an often blood pumping remix of words and phrases as a direct backdrop and influence for their clowning. This fast pace transports you between characters, situations and worlds, leaving you no time for your mind to wander. Each actor takes on a variety of characters, mimicking the voices bellowing out amongst the music. The skill behind not only designing the sound for the performance, but syncing it up with the movement of the actors, was impressive.
Though I understand the metaphor behind the actors breaking their mime-like silence, as symbolism that those suffering from post-uni blues should also break theirs, I did find that I preferred the parts of the performance without direct speech from the actors. Their movements, gestures and facial expressions gave more for me than a direct address to the audience. Having said that, the moment where an actor, Grace, first breaks her silence, was interesting and effective.
In essence, this show has an important message. One that could make for an evening of melancholy, but instead, was done with humour, warmth and authenticity. The physicality and creativity of the actors was inspiring and gave the topic some much-needed stage time.
Ugly Bucket Theatre Company explore post-uni blues through the good, the bad and the ugly, and I found myself thinking that every soon-to-be or recent graduate should see this show.
You can check out what Ugly Bucket Theatre Company are up to next by following their Facebook Group.
Kitty completed her BA Hons degree in Drama and went on to do the Everyman & Playhouse young writer’s course. She continued her studies with short courses at Liverpool University and writes for The National Student. Kitty continues to write creatively, recently getting longlisted for the BBC Comedy Script Room submissions.