Following the success of ‘Academy of Risk’, Truro School’s theatre company, Stargaze, returned to The Fringe this summer with ‘Boy in a Bottle’ – a new play commissioned especially for the cast and written by Benjamin Symes from cube essential theatre. The play was co-directed by Benjamin and Johanna Egar, produced by Ben Oldfield and designed by Taz Burr. We are very grateful to Sandra Goodenough, Jamie Burr and Caroline Richardson for set construction and painting.
The cast spent 3 intensive weeks in July rehearsing and creating the beautifully eccentric, wonky world of the play. Over those weeks, colourful characters were discovered, a stunning set was constructed and the whole ensemble bonded together to create a tight professional-standard company.
Our week in Edinburgh was a resounding success. The company worked hard to advertise their show, coming up with all sorts of creative ways to persuade members of the public to accept flyers and come to the performance – and had the opportunity to perform extracts from the play throughout the week on one of the main stages on the Royal Mile as part of their advertising campaign. We performed ‘Boy in a Bottle’ daily at The Surgeon’s Hall and over the course of the week, the flyering paid off as we were rewarded with large audience numbers, which grew as word spread about the production – culminating in a sellout performance at the end of the week and superb reviews.
It wasn’t all work, however. The company also took full advantage of over 3,000 other shows to choose from and enjoyed a plethora of productions over the course of the week when we weren’t performing our own. First prize goes to Lilly, who managed to fit in 27 shows over 7 days!
We had a huge amount of fun over the process – and the company has also learnt about the value of living and working together as a community, how to market and publicize a product, how to use imagination and creativity to problem-solve – and all would agree that we’ve developed and grown in both a personal and professional sense. It was a memorable, rewarding, fabulous experience for all involved.
“They…display the gusto of a high-school musical but there is a radical, hungry professionalism energising it all… It looks gorgeously stylish… the ending is a superb, snazzy coup.” (Tychy@theFringe)
EdFringe Audience Online Reviews:
“…This is funny, thought provoking and so moving that it makes one well up just recalling it – and there have only ever been two plays that have ever done that to me in a lifetime of theatre going… Easily the best show I saw on The Fringe and I hope the play script is published soon because I can see it becoming a youth theatre classic!”
“Absolutely phenomenal! Such an amazing way to approach this topic, 100% worth a watch! I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw these talented young actors on our screen very soon.”
“Is it any good? Yes. Should you go? YES. I enjoy seeing skilled enthusiastic youthful performers, focussed and well directed. The show has a talented artistic designer who needs a special bravo for innovation. This show deserves to be sold out. So go. Want to know more about the show? Read the published blurb. Don’t ask for more than that. You need no preconceptions. Just walk in and enjoy… as I certainly did”.
“A complex set of characters brought to life by talented young actors. They made me laugh and, as their stories unfolded, made me feel for them. Fast moving, insightful and thought provoking, a very mature youth theatre show. A must see for all Fringe goers.”
A Student’s View
Taking part in “Boy in a Bottle” was truly an amazing experience and I loved every minute of it. Not only was it great to be a part of a unique show at a professional level, but all of the time we spent together as a company drew us all even closer to each other. This meant that by the time we left for Edinburgh we’d bonded through our shared love of the film “Fantastic Mr Fox” (which quickly became a cast favourite) as well as belting out songs from “Prince of Egypt” and many, many rounds of card games.
The fringe itself was absolutely brilliant, with us seeing a wide range of fantastic shows. I also think that it’s such a supportive and friendly place to perform, with audience members approaching us after the shows to congratulate us on our performances, and so many theatre companies taking the time after their own shows to recommend other things to see, simply because they wanted to share the talent they’d seen with others.
I feel so lucky to have been able to take part in such a beautiful show, with an amazing set and an equally amazing bunch of people. It was such unforgettable experience, and I’m so, so glad that I got to be a part of it.
— Iain MacDonald (@frugalmac50) August 11, 2017
— Jim Phalen (@jtphalen) August 9, 2017