Buyer's remorse

16 April 2019

Sam Ross doesn't feel ready for the Bost-Uni Plues

“Our aim is for every single one of our students to reach their full potential, whatever their background or circumstances. We will support you to feel confident in taking ownership of your future.”

I am bricking it about leaving uni.

I’m already bricking it enough about completing my many final term assessments (including my theatre dissertation performance). I feel so underprepared.

I’m even more unprepared for my life post-uni. I assume I’ll have to get a job of some kind to tide me over – whether that is stacking shelves or cleaning the sewers I honestly don’t know (I hope not the latter).

“Inspiring people to learn and achieve, we help them make the most of life. Here you can do things you may have never thought possible.”

Many recent pieces of clowning that I’ve seen have used the form very effectively to tackle difficult or overlooked subjects. Silent Faces’ A Clown Show About Rain for example beautifully explored the nature of chronic mental illness using weather as a metaphor.

Ugly Bucket’s Bost-Uni Plues achieves a similar effect but with a much wackier vibe. What makes their performance particularly interesting is the use of audio testimonials from real-life graduates about their time during and post university. These underscore the narrative thread enacted by the three clowns. The clowning in return accentuates and physicalises the emotional truths behind the confessions.

“We want you to have the time of your life.”

Three years of university come and go in a flash like a manic turbulent round of Mario Kart. We watch them scramble frantically as they awkwardly meet, party, study, stress-write and eventually make it to graduation. It’s a heady hysterical mix of slapstick, techno-raves and hard relatable truths.

What happens after the best years of your life however?

“We believe that a university education should give you more than an academic qualification; it should give you the skills, experience and confidence to succeed in the career of your choice after your degree.”

As a soon-to-be graduate, I was haunted by the shared experiences of the post-uni slump. Varied sketches illustrate the general feelings of abandonment and disillusionment. Graduates stranded out at sea on a comically tiny raft. Job applications getting crumpled in the hands of the boss. September whacking someone repeatedly to the ground with an inflatable hammer.

“Nothing is more important to us than your wellbeing. We provide a network of support services to make sure you’re happy, healthy and secure, so you can get on with doing what you do best.”

The show achieves a satisfying balance between moments of utter absurdity and reflective moments of vulnerability. There’s something refreshing about hearing that others are in the same boat. It’s a part of the uni experience that should be discussed more openly – the show facilitates these conversations really well. And is a lot of fun in the process.

“Here’s to a new start. Leaving home, making friends, and achieving more than you ever thought possible. It won’t always be easy, but we’ll always be here. Ready for the next chapter?”

@noffmag / [email protected]

Image credit: Beatrice Debney