Reviewed by Helen McWilliams
The annual London Short Play Festival opened its doors for the second time on Thursday 16th July for a three night residency at the Edric Theatre, part of the London South Bank University. Organised and produced by Millie Thorne and Maria Klockare (both London South Bank University alumni), the success of last year’s festival laid the foundations for the promise of another inspirational evening of new writing for theatre.
‘Blast from the Past’ written and directed by Anna-Lisa Maree opened the event, starring ex-Coronation Street star Scott Wright, seasoned television and theatre star Judy Buxton, Anthony Poore and Matthew Jordan Wright. The story centres around the dysfunctional ‘Tate’ family who are ensconced in their own Blackpool B&B business. With monologues which drew me in and enhanced the story, together with the sensitive tackling of real-life event, the 1999 nail bombing at the ‘Admiral Duncan’, this piece could easily work as a full length play. The attention to detail down to the costumes all helped to create the correct atmosphere and tone. The set was simple and effective, the casting was perfect, a definite triumph, and I’m keen to see more of Anna-Lisa Maree’s work.
‘Fallen Apple’ by Bethan Highgate-Betts which starred Joel Grizzle, takes an interesting look at how an ordinary day running in the park can lead to mystery and intrigue. Hats off to Joel Grizzle for holding the audience’s interest with skilled story telling. I could picture the park, the perverted duck(!) and the pawn shop and I really wanted to know more about the lady who’s apple was broken in half. An excellent unexpected twist from the writer, too. In my opinion, this works very well as a short play, even though I felt that I was left with many unanswered questions.
‘The Way To A Man’s Heart’ by David Weir brings the story of revenge with a deliciously subtle build-up to the moment the ‘victim’ of the fall-out ‘twists the knife’. Beginning as a mundane meeting of two people who are in the process of splitting up and dividing their belongings, including a hefty pay-out from a winning lottery ticket, this is laced with clever and intricate comedy. An engaging two-hander exceedingly well performed by Sasha Ellen and Alec Bernie. This is a good subject for a short play as it demonstrates a snapshot of an estranged couples’ lives and the tale is wrapped up neatly.
‘The Heir’ starring Suzanne Tooley, Shaun Noone and Emma True, is perhaps the most mad-cap of the four plays. Written by Jasmine Arden-Brown, it explores the huge ‘what if’ posed by the suggestion of the ‘end of the world’. It shows an almost believable set-up of how individuals might be dealing with the situation while struggling to survive. The set spoke a thousand words on its own, but it was a ‘laugh out loud’ script which belied the seriousness of the heart of the topic. The writer plans to turn this into a full length play, and I’d be interested to see more as there are many avenues to be explored. Notable chemistry between the actors in this piece, and they kept the dialogue moving at a pace which suited the genre.
What more can I say other than keep your eyes on this link http://www.londonshortplayfestival.com/ and join us in supporting this event next year.