On the Rocks’ production of An Education was everything one expected from an arts festival: the play was tasteful, cultured and delicately reserved. Perfectly timed comedy and penetrative emotional exploration littered this topical production throughout – all of which made it a pleasure to watch. At times pleasantly avant-garde and at other moments familiar and welcoming, the script flowed from the actors as though each had been impeccably selected with every relationship and character appearing to be effortlessly developed and finished.
Following the rather mundane life of a sixteen-year-old girl in London, Jenny, who dreams of the spires which punctuate the Oxford skyline as she clings desperately to the hope of the cultured and refreshing life that awaits her at university, is welcomed to a new chic and energising life by an older, soon to be her lover, David. As such, the narrative charts the conflict that reverberates through Jenny’s domestic life as she begins to explore this new world, as well as provides an insight into the civilised and sophisticated society that silently surrounded her.
The messages and themes are simple: life and culture against the familiar and safe – but this production portrays them brilliantly! It is a narrative that will speak to any St Andrews’ student and is universal in impact, and, as such, On the Rocks must be applauded for their choosing of such a relevant and affective piece. Moreover, the ten actors each in turn should be congratulated for their performances, with every character solidifying the play’s success. Praise must also follow for the production team who, through cleverly interweaving footage from 1960s Britain and France, managed to truly evoke an atmosphere of the claustrophobic domestic setting, and the swinging adrenaline and undefeatability that epitomised the sixties.
Thus, there is little more to admire or critique of this production of An Education, except for to leave my acclaim to all those involved and my congratulations to On the Rocks for putting on a performance that, frankly, was nothing short of being cultured, chic, and très incroyable.