SUDS’ Jim Got Shot is a testament to original student writing. With a run-time of 2 hours, it’s a must-watch for easy laughs, but be prepared for a mindfuck that doesn’t quite pull off a perfect resolution.
Having never watched a SUDS production, I was excited to see what they had to offer. My initial impression was somewhat soured by the difficulty of finding the venue (at one point I ended up in the Holme Building’s dingy basement facing three closed doors and some abandoned furniture). First-time SUDS watchers are warned, finding the Cellar Theatre is half the journey to a night of student drama.
Despite this, I was pleasantly surprised by the venue’s homely interior. Names of the production team and cast were inscribed with chalk on the walls, and an illustrated poster incited excitement. I was struck by the sincerity of the program’s scriptwriter and director’s notes.
SUDS describes Jim Got Shot as Kingsman meets Comedy of Errors, featuring the ‘Alisons’ as all-seeing leaders of a comically disorganised band of misfits.
This production certainly had heart to it. Walking into the small, dingy theatre, I felt more at home than I had ever felt while watching a live production. Space was well-utilised and the set meticulously planned, with every object telling a story.
From the first minute, the audience was captivated. Sound, lights, and the band coordinated perfectly to support scenes transitioning from suspense, to comedy, to noir, to action.
The cast was vibrant, and their acting expertise evident. The script relies on strong character tropes – perhaps a little too heavily at times – for constant moments of hilarity. As the audience, we were all fully attentive to avoid missing any jokes, an attribute to Declan Coyle’s scriptwriting.
Felix Faber plays the fantastic doe-eyed John to Isla Mowbray’s bossy and sharp Lydia. Eoin O’Sullivan’s aggressive Irish thug drew numerous laughs from the audience. Emily Henderson’s Alison was revealed to be heartbreakingly vulnerable, while Danny Cabubas’ Allison captivated the audience with her cold, calculative nature.
My only qualm was the slow-moving plot — by half-time I was still unsure of what was happening. The script attempted to remedy this with multiple action-packed scenes, but they came too late – my laughter at jokes had already been hindered by my confusion.
Despite this, these final scenes displayed the show’s production value, as suspense and comedy built up through character and relationship exploration in the first two-thirds of the show, it all culminated in a heartbreaking epiphanic conclusion offset by a comedic musical number.
SUDS’ Jim Got Shot clearly demonstrates the crew’s show production talent.
The team must be commended for a well-planned show, and the band added a fantastic live element. Director Margaret Thanos, Producer Jake Parker, and scriptwriter Coyle should be proud of the weird, hilarious and melodramatic show they have crafted.