Drama Soc hadn’t tried this for five years. Although original writing in such a short time was always going to be an ambitious task, a large audience in the LCR showed that people had faith in the idea.
Photo: Flickr/Jaimye Henry
Starting off was the best short of the lot. Saturday Night explored John (Georgios Hadjimichael) trying to have a one night stand with the inebriated Kate (Molly Eagles). With Caterina Incisa’s superb script and direction, both performers conveyed this awkward situation with fine accuracy, creating a sterling piece of theatre.
With a hard act to follow, Talking Beds attempted to fit six monologues into one short play. Six was too many and most lasted too long, but the monologues themselves were impressive. Susannah Martin’s monologue was packed with imagery fit for a Greek epic about sex in a taxi. Harry Smith’s monologue was excellent, portraying the ‘London geeza’ Jimmy’s retelling of his awkward sexual situation to a tee, written beautifully and crudely by Joe Jones. It seemed unfair, though, that Talking Beds took so long when the other shorts were more economical with their time on stage.
Choosing to Forget, then, had a tough task in energising a tired audience. Hungover, character Beth wakes up in her ex’s flat, and Lizzy Margereson played this unstable character convincingly. Beth’s gradual make-up with him was sensitive, well written and presented.
Dealing with different subject matter, Smokey and the Jumper closed the first half with a bang. Hidden gem Jake Head played Adam with flair, saving the suicidal Douglas from jumping off a rooftop with hilarious insensitivity. Sam Masters’s comic scriptwriting was just right, leaving the audience duly satisfied.
After the interval, Burn Out had wonderful moments, exploring a relationship blossoming and ‘burning out’. The scene transitions, however, could have done with changes in lighting to signify time passing more effectively. Also, it seemed difficult to establish the characters’ complicated relationship in just fifteen minutes.
Meanwhile, as a narrated fairytale, The Rock gave a refreshing change in style. However, the tale itself was outshone by in-jokes about Drama Soc and the humorous antics of the ‘Stage Hand’ (Hattie Sambrook). Meta struggled to convey its characters of the annoying director and the frustrated actors convincingly, and its criticism of pretentious theatre was hindered due to its lack of pace and energy. Maybe it would have been better if it hadn’t been well past 10 o’clock.
Forest Grump, however, was brilliant, telling the tale of Grump (Lucas Burt) the melancholy tree. Fabulously adorned in an elaborate costume, he played miserable with acute skill; when he wasn’t getting a laugh with every line, he was making everyone say “awwww” instead.
Spotlight promised us a “fun night of new writing”, and more or less delivered. Although the night was lengthy, it was filled with mostly decent material, and it was especially encouraging to see non-drama students excel. Let us hope that Spotlight, as a great platform for writers, performers and directors, continues next year, perhaps over several nights next time round.