Saturday saw the finale of Minotaur Theatre Company’s Shorts Festival with four twenty minute plays which proved that Minotaur’s members continue to be inventive, devoted and brilliant as ever in their creation of theatre here at UEA.
The night took on a theme of comedy with a dark twist with “George” by Ed Jones and Joe Jones, “Norman” by Martha Geelan, “A Beginner’s Guide to Murder” by Samuel Masters and “Our Night” by Ciara Morris and Abi Stewart.
“George” took inspiration from Roald Dahl’s “George’s Marvelous Medicine” to combine the disturbing story of a ten year old boy, abused by his nan, played by show-stealing Amber Muldoon, with catchy and robust musical theatre that held the audience in the ensemble’s cheerfully poised jazz-hands. An imaginative combination which to my surprise fitted perfectly, “George” brought a breath of fresh air to the festival and had me smiling from ear to ear.
Milly Rolle held the stage with dynamism and ease in the festival’s only one-woman play, “Norman” in what was for me the highlight of the night. “Norman” told us of the dysfunctional but nonetheless delightful relationship of Pauline and Norman. However, the story quickly came to be more importantly one of Pauline’s identity; what life had thrown at her and what she had thrown back. An uplifting and moving monologue that captivated the audience with the exhilarating combination of highly skilled writing, directing and acting.
“A Beginner’s Guide to Murder” smacked the audience with a stylish and fast-paced presentation of three energetic, socially inept, violent natured people trapped in a basement when the pressure’s on and lethal garden tools are at hand. A fast-paced and witty piece which spoilt the audience with surprises and great lines.
The night was concluded by “Our Night”, a piece all too close-to-home for us students in the audience that reminded us of the laughs, tears and vomit experienced by groups of boys and girls after a night out. Gender politics, sex and the merits of drunk food were explored by eight classic characters, but the show was stolen by “Charlie Fields”, playing the charming imbecilic fresher we all want as our best friend. In theory.
An inspiring and surprising night of comedic and thought-provoking theatre was had at UEA Drama Studio which has me very excited for what the students of Minotaur have in store for us this year. If Saturday was anything to go by, I can’t wait to see what they think of next.