A really enjoyable Saturday afternoon was spent in the Chesil Theatre watching 10×10. Each of the 10 short plays ran for a duration of 10 minutes. In order to this justice, I am writing about each one individually. Personally, some of the best theatre and writing I have seen are from new performers and writers. I would always recommend friends to see performances like these.
1 Underground. A dialogue between a young homeless girl and a city banker. At first, you believe they have just met. Through repetition of dialogue, the audience realises they are old acquaintances. Their background stories are marred with difficulties and I was left feeling we had just watched deceased characters caught in a time loop. Very good.
2 Big Splash. A fast-paced farce as spaced out as the new planet Carol had just discovered. Totally unbelievable or was it, why should we be alone in the universe. Well acted and some well placed British toilet humour.
3 Birthday. Harsh reality play about internet grooming. Maddie is an insecure, vulnerable 14 years old being groomed by Graham. She believes he is her age. However, he never sends her a picture of himself and arranges a weekend away with her. The audience never knows the outcome of this conversation and do not need to in order to fully understand the message. I think this would make an excellent play to take into secondary schools and perform. The short play would be long enough to keep teenagers engaged.
4 The Worst of the Worst. Two prisoners in adjoining cells locked away in solitary confinement. They dealt with how the mind copes when shutting away from human interaction. They use exercise and counting mechanisms to cope with their mundane existence. The audience understands both have been charged with serious crimes. It became a bit disjointed in places though and I lost what they were saying.
5 The Last Supper. Brian is a controlling abusive husband who gets more than an unwanted menu. Susan has endured his behaviour for years and sets up a dinner in the picturesque restaurant in Spain. The waitress’s erratic behaviour steals the show arguing with the chief and leading Brian to believe she has killed her. The waitress turns her attention to Brian and he flees for his life leaving Susan behind. I was laughing throughout this. A great comedy sketch to take to The Edinburgh Fringe.
6 Rook Raven Crow. A new concept on the MI6 cleaning up methods. The trio is transported into the mind of the American President. Who cleans it up and reprogramme the chain of thoughts and opinions held by him. Very well acted and really interesting idea to explore in a ten-minute play.
7 Distant Sky. An interesting snippet into a small period of two young peoples lives. They are dealing with growing up and the reality of living together. The play has a lot of potential dealing with so many issues in the 10 minutes. Sadly at times, it lost the momentum they were building up. However, the ending was a tragedy and not delivered as strong as it could have been.
8 Hold. A very funny sketch where a guy phones up to make a complaint about some book covers he has received. He is passed from one unhelpful department to the next, exasperating him as he is put on hold time after time. The two actresses at the end of the phone line were hilarious. From doing their nails, reading a magazine to eating jelly babies heads off. I thoroughly enjoyed this and could imagine this to be a true scenario. We can never be sure what is happening at the end of the phone.
9. Mum’s the Word. Described the feelings and emotions of a new young Mother as she learns to identify with the person she has become. I recognised some of these feelings she was experiencing. I thought it was describing the spiral of despair for a sufferer of postnatal depression. It was not clear if this ended in suicide or not. Very well acted and written.
10. The Marigolds of Moscow. Once a spy always a spy. Alan is hounded by two Russians as he tries to enjoy his lunchtime sandwiches on a park bench. He denies having any knowledge understanding what they are saying to him in code. He finally gives in to his historic identity when left alone with one to talk. He agrees to one final job as he takes the gun from the lady Russian.
Thank you for agreeing to let me review this Deborah Edgington, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
10×10 New Writing Festival.
Performed at The Chesil Theatre on 13th and 14th October 2018.