Right, being completely honest I'm really not a big fan of University-based drama.
Maybe (definitely) a lot of the annoyance comes from the kind of university I go to, where a disproportionate number of students went to the kinds of schools I naively thought there were only about 4 left of in the entire country - and all of them probably in Kent.
I've steered clear of university theatre for the most part in my time at Newcastle, but having seen and greatly enjoyed some of the work I had seem by those involved in this production before, I thought I may as well go along and have a watch. The piece was created for the Newcastle University Festival of Culture, a two-week celebration of all things culturally celebratory at the uni which - albeit annoyingly undiverse - still has a relatively decent amount of culture to offer.
Although I was familiar with some of the theatre makers involved in the production, I have never seen anything by Moaning Toad Productions before. 'Wait so what's it actually about?' a friend asked as we sat down at the back of Northern Stage's Stage 3. It was at that moment that I realised I'd walked in to the whole thing completely clueless as to what I was going to see. But in all honesty, I liked it that way.
I am a sucker for intersecting storylines. Love Actually. Pulp Fiction. A Midsummer Night's Dream. I will happily lap them all up. This production had that kind of a feel to it. I enjoyed watching the relationships within the piece unravel and overlap. People are complicated, relationships are complicated and that was something this production got bang on. None of the characters were entirely likeable or unlikeable, everyone had nuances and nuggets of gold woven into their complexities. Although the story didn't always have a clear drive in one direction, its compelling relationships between the characters meant that that didn't matter.
Puncture did, however, still hold on to an air of privilege I associate with university and can sometimes find myself rolling my eyes at (a couple of classical references/jokes I didn't get), it was packed with subtle moments of tender connection. The kind you probably experience in your day to day life all the time, but don't think to notice or appreciate them until they're there on stage playing out in front of you.
To say I went into the piece quite sceptical - albeit clueless - I came out with a kind of happysad feeling. The kind you get after saying goodbye to someone you love a little bit. It's not always a feeling you want to let yourself be all that open to experiencing, but it has a sour niceness to it when you do. I'm thankful that this production brought that out of me.