Review: 'On The Rocks' Closing Reception
By: Taliha Gazi
With flutes of champagne, and signature Lumsden and Lightbox cocktails as entrées to the evening, the ‘On the Rocks’ closing reception was a leisurely end to what has been a fortnight-long outburst of music, dance, theatre, comedy, art and poetry. Adorned with paintings, poetry, and photos, the stairwell of the Byre ascended passers-by onto a plane of self-existential reflection seen through the eyes of S3 and P4-7 pupils, both of whom contributed their artwork to StAnza’s ‘I Am Poetry’ event. Two exhibitions, ‘Masking the Body’, and ‘Eye-Popping Poems’, brooded upon issues (either on paper or on an actual mask) which resound with many young people today, and the influences which Tumblr, Batman, and even Lil Wayne have had on our collective worldview.
In amidst these candid self-reflections were an aesthetic collection of portraiture, travel and landscape work (à la Instagram, of course), wonderfully pieced together by Lightbox Creative. St Andrews’ very own Valeria Duca, winner of the 2012 Moldovan Youth Award for Literature and Art. She also decorated the space with her own neo-impressionist artwork, exploring the body and movement of ballet dancers with rapidly applied brushstrokes of bright colour, and her talent is unlikely to go unnoticed in the future. Sophie McKay Knight is another name to remember: her exhibition ‘Elements’ fuses mixed media with the representation of beauty found in nature, as well as in that of the human body. A thought-provoking subtext exists beneath the visual curiosity which ‘Elements’ inspires: the issues women face working in the field of science. Knight’s work from another project, ‘Chrysalis’, is a further element to this exhibition, resulting from conversations with the Biomedical Sciences Research Complex at the University of St Andrews.
‘Music is Love’ mellowed the mood of the evening with their live acoustic renditions of old time classics, such as ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ by The Animals. The trio then conjoined these with traditional Irish folk songs, stripped-down versions of synth-pop anthems, like Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’, as well as a handful of personal songs about jam jars and taking the bus down to Dundee. Tiff, Amy and Dylan’s performances were intoxicating. Yarn-spinners, ‘It’s A Wise Child Live’ and taboo-shattering improv comedy troupe ‘Blind Mirth’ impressed yet again with their witty spontaneity and captivating stage presence. However, since both acts headlined the ‘On the Rocks’ opening event, spotlighting other acts involved (possibly those enjoying less coverage) could have added a touch more variety to culminate the festivities. Performing a patchwork of ballet, tap, hip-hop, and contemporary dance, the ‘Blue Angels Dance Team’ were the final act before the night’s curtain-call. Their effervescent display was an apt way to end an event which itself began with bottles of bubbly, as well as being a worthy celebration of all the festival has achieved: team work, diversity, and, above all, impact.