The Edinburgh University Theatre Company, run by students, use the Bedlam Theatre as a venue to stage a selection of plays throughout the academic year. ‘Panopticon’, written and directed by second year student Liam Rees, is the story of a drama teacher endeavouring to run workshops in a women’s prison.
The setting is a cage, divided into sections, which spans the length of the stage. Eight characters are involved – six female prisoners, Julia (the drama teacher) and a psychologist. We were introduced to each prisoner via a monologue describing their life and others – although their specific crime was never revealed. Friction between the prisoners emerged periodically until Julia, the idealistic Drama teacher, eventually became disillusioned.
Considering the cast were academic students the acting was of a high calibre, particularly Aggie Dolan as Julia who effectively portrayed the earnestness of the character. The dialogue at the beginning of the play was good, and held one’s attention, but as the play progressed it was obvious a lot of the script could have been edited. Generally though, it was a good production by this student company.