The Pensive Federation’s Significant Other Festival of Short Plays opened the shiny, new Park Theatre’s Morris Space with a bang and a song or two! The Significant Other Festival brings together 10 writers,10 directors and 20 actors who have to stage an original 10 minute short play in just five days. This year’s theme was “significant other” exploring modern relationships and showcased some extremely well-crafted tales and stellar performances.
I will now attempt to give y’all a one sentence summary of each piece: First up was Wherever I Lay My Hat by Will Howells which is a noir-esque tale of a rocky romantic relationship told by a narrator (Dominic Ridley ) in a very convincing, old timey New York accent, COYI by Penny Faith a comedy about a couple who are literally on the edge of their seats while watching a do or die football match, Rip It To Shreds by Nick Myles a mysterious tale of two friends one who has committed suicide and the other who is haunted by his ghost, Dave and the Girl From Nexus by Julie Green a astrophysical tale of a girl from the planet Nexus who comes down to earth to ask a beer guzzling Englishman for help on a special stellar mission, Alibi written by Jonathan Skinner a story of two female colleagues who break into their conniving boss’ flat to take some revenge, A Month and Five Days written by Mike Carter and composed by Lemon Otter and Franner Jordan a delightfully funny musical about a romance between a librarian and one of her patrons, Eastbound by Caro Dixey is about two women who break down one with a car another without but have a sweet chance encounter while lost on the motorway, Something So Good by Jo Pockett about a boy who’s on the verge of asking his gal to marry him when he’s visited by a sort of magical love fairy who’s come to give him some important love advice,It’s Not You by Kate Webster a suspenseful thriller about a girlfriend who has the shocking discovery that her boyfriend is not who she thinks he is and finally rounding the night off with Icebergs a comical story by Camilla Whitehill of a brother and sister’s failed attempt to rob a big supermarket chain and how this leads to the strengthening of their sibling ties.
It was kind of hard to believe that all these collaborators only had five days to put everything together. Some of the performances especially A Month and Five Days, the ten minute smashing musical was so tightly executed I started thinking they must have had some extra time. Both Alexandra Fisher and Daniel Page were brilliant in their roles with perfect musical voices and moves. COYI was really well – performed as Ryan Wichert and Lucy Fazey demonstrated just the right nerve-wracking energy you have when you’re watching your team play an important match. They had some great on stage chemistry and so did another couple in Where I Lay My Hat, played by Dominic Ridley and Caitlin Ince whose roller-coaster romance was portrayed in a sincere way.
Romantic couples weren’t the only ones with the chemistry and I thought the bond between the two lost girls in Eastbound played by Nina Moniri and Nathalie Pownall felt genuinely sweet. The pairing of Alfie Rowland and Kim Burnett in Icebergs as brother and sister was spot on. They played out all that familiar sibling rivalry with out a hitch and when the little sister spells out the harsh truth to her brother about his delusional dreams of grandeur, you could sense he was hit by her words.
The underlying theme of ‘significant other’ helps to thread each play together, making for an evening of tales that come together like a patchwork quilt, instead of something more disjointed which is always a risk you are running with short play festivals. There was some really clever writing and the evening showcased some great talent on the London theatre scene. It left me thinking that this is something that should happen more than just once a year and I look forward to the next round.
The Park Theatre is the shiny new theatre right next to Finsbury Park station and you can still smell the paint on the walls. It’s a really neat space with a lovely bar upstairs and a comfy décor.
For more information on the Pensive Federation and the Signficant Other Festival please visit,http://pensivefederation.com/productions/the-significant-other-festival/ As for the brand-spanking new Park Theatre check out the Park Theatre at http://parktheatre.co.uk/.