A Look Back At Last International Arts Festival In New Haven

 "Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour"

"Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour"

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED JUNE, 2016

There was $440 in cold cash just sitting on the large wooden table in the middle of an oak-paneled room at a private club in downtown New Haven. Twenty audience members sat around the table and were asked to unanimously decide how to spend the dough during an afternoon performance of The Money. Easy enough, right? Think again.

This conundrum was not the only mental exercise given to audiences at the New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas, which took place June 10-24. True to its name, the festival boasted a menu of mind-stretching theatre, as well as music and dance performances and expert panels.

The six theatre pieces included esoteric works that deconstructed myths and classics; a circus-infused, kid-friendly show; a performance as intimate and startling as reading a book aloud in a hushed library; and a Fringe hit bound for the West End. And then there was that immersive money piece where the audience was the show.

 "The Bookbinder"

"The Bookbinder"

The big-ticket item of the festival was Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, from the National Theatre of Scotland and Live Theatre in Newcastle. The hit from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe made its U.S. debut as a warmup to its U.K. tour and London run.

The musical play could be subtitled “Catholic School Girls Gone Wild,” as it follows six untethered teens making their way from the confines of their rural Scottish village to a national choir competition in Edinburgh. Though their voices are angelic (the cast’s rendition of Mendelssohn’s “Lift Thine Eyes” is heavenly), they’re rebellious devils, having carefully plotted their great escape into sex, drink, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll. Don’t let the plaid pleats fool you. Accompanied by a three-piece combo, the girls shift at the drop of a halo from Handel to Hendrix.

 "The Money"

"The Money"