So let me quickly address the worst of it. To those plays that are so obvious that the onion has been peeled, lying exposed and wilted on the floor, no layers, no subtlety, no nuance, I say the following: thanks for knowing your lines, getting your cues right, for your commitment, your energy and bringing your family and friends to the theatre to support you. Good on you. Thanks for turning up and giving it a red hot go.
To the rest I say this:
Kerry Bowden’s ‘Handyman’, directed by Stephen Wallace and performed by Emily Kivilcin showed the makings of something more. Just a little work on mastering the psychological shifts of the ending and this one will go off.
Mathivanan Rajendran’s ‘My Name is Cine-Ma’, the Chennai, Mumbai and KL winner and performed by Pooja Balu, Venkatesh Harinathan and Ajay Ayyappan has great energy and passion. The trio of performers are certainly dynamic but I don’t know whether it was originally performed in English but there is a lack of control in timing and delivery that affects its coherence so once they iron this out, it could also be a contender.
‘G’, Miranda Drake’s piece, has an honesty and realness about it that makes you forgive its lack of sophistication, Robert Sharpe’s ‘Do Not Disturb’ and Phillip Gallop’s ‘Team Building Activity’ has some decent acting but the night’s winner surely has to be ‘The Fox and The Hunter’ written by Simon Godfrey, directed by James Hartley and performed by Hartley and Tom Green. This was by far the most engaging and skilled piece on offer. Actors managed to tilt the audience’s expectations many times throughout the play’s allocated 10 minutes and I see a bright future for these young men.
Whilst a masterclass on timing, rhythm, subtext and belief might not go astray with many Short & Sweet pieces, it’s when you as audience stumble upon the gold and its inclusivity for the performers and artists that makes this festival worthwhile. And never has an audience been stacked with so many people who want to love you or a stage crew who act with the speed and dexterity of a special ops team.
So pop along, cast your vote and pray there’s a ‘Fox and Hunter’ piece there amongst the choices for you to thoroughly enjoy.