With everything from Cereal, inebriation, one journey from hell, and a city slicker’s descent into madness – Minotaur Theatre Company’s first night of the Annual Shorts Festival provided a night of variety and entertainment.
Kicking off the start of the 2014 Shorts Festival was Hold My Tongue, the first of twelve plays written and directed by UEA Drama students to be performed over three nights. A provoking piece, Hold My Tongue illuminated the complicated nature of friendships, when things turn sour between four flatmates. Though well-acted, the meaning of the four monologues was sometimes lost through the repetitive nature of each piece. Yet overall, it was an interesting insight into the anxieties, pressures and insecurities which beleaguer young people everywhere.
Next was The Honeymooners, a highly comedic portrayal of a girl’s unrelenting capacity to talk. Indeed, Katie Wood delivered a hilarious performance as Emily, a slightly unstable young girl, incessantly chatting to a comatose student as she waits for her bus to arrive to take her away from home. The comedic timing, along with the witty script ensured this play was a laugh a minute; yet with a hint of underlying sadness felt throughout as Emily revealed the dynamics of her dysfunctional family, along with everything else she could possibly talk about.
Coach Trip followed the interval, where much liveliness and silliness ensued. With a variety of stereotypes showcased for our enjoyment, the audience could not help but crack a wry smile. Whether you preferred Barry the camp tour guide, Bev the lusty driver, the foulmouthed “Angels of the North” Deidre and Margaret, or my personal favourite – the Spanish salsa sensation of Pedro and Carmen, there really was something for everyone on this reality TV coach trip.
With a complete change of tone came Broken – the final play of Thursday’s Short’s performances. Powerful, punchy and provocative, Broken captivated the audience from the get-go. With everything from the use of the eerie ensemble, intelligent script and the strong performance of the growingly insane protagonist, the audience was sure to remember this piece. Indeed, the dark and disturbing tone set it much apart from the other performances as we watched a man descend into madness, imposed by the pressures of stockbroker life in a highly competitive, ruthless and aggressive environment.
The first night of the Minotaur Short’s Festival, was therefore, a success. The proceeding nights will certainly have a tough act to follow…