Craig Donaghy, Ziella Bryars, Jack Fiehn and Daniel Frankenburg
Directed by Sophie Davies, Ziella Bryars, Nikita Strange and James Veitch
Pros: Clever, short, sharp scripts performed by a solid cast. Leaves you wanting more.
Cons: A little unpolished at times.
Our Verdict: Short, sharp bursts of good quality theatre. Perfect for a mid-week theatre trip.
As a regular theatre goer, I am used to seeing shows of all lengths, from the twenty-minute one act play to the three-hour Shakespeare. Perhaps after a succession of longer plays though, I can’t help but feel that there is something wonderful about “bite-size” theatre: shows which leave something to the imagination, which leave you wanting more, and which get straight to the point. There is a place for watching theatrical epics spanning hours as an inevitable conclusion slowly draws to fruition, but after a long day at work, sometimes all I want is to sit down with a pint and watch some good, short theatre to make me think, laugh and smile. If you are like me, then The Love Bites Plays
will be your perfect evening out.
The concept of The Love Bites Plays
is fairly straightforward: it is a recurring theatrical evening which showcases the work of emerging writers, actors, and producers through the medium of four one-act plays. The theme, too is recurring – Love and Relationships. Each event also has a different slant, and on this occasion, the evening focussed on accommodation. The production was held at the Etcetera Theatre
in Camden – a cosy and relaxed venue, which was perfect for the theme.
We were treated to four plays. The first was Zoned Out by Craig Donaghy, a monologue about a young woman moving out to the London suburbs to live with her boyfriend… and then moving back towards the centre when things don’t work out. The second was Apartment 101 by Ziella Bryars, and this revolved around a young woman taking relationship advice from a stranger subletting a room in her flat. This was followed by The Favour by Nick Fiehn, which explored the difficult reality of a couple moving out after splitting up. Finally, St Sebastian was about a young professional getting an electrician round to his flat to settle an old score. Each of the plays was well crafted and left me wanting more: some made me smile, others got me a bit emotional. Whether the viewer has been in a long term relationship or not, whether they have lived with a partner, moved in with a partner or moved out from living with one, there was something to relate to.
The scripts were backed up by some solid acting and enjoyable performances. Although on occasion some of the scenes could have been a bit more polished, the production felt very fresh and vibrant. One stand-out performances for me was Thea Beyleveld who performed Zoned Out with jittery, almost manic zeal, whilst still allowing an underlying sadness shine through. Samuel Dent also gave a great portrayal of Zak, the young overly-helpful American subletting a room in Apartment 101. These were just a few of my personal favourites, but in general the cast were strong interesting to watch. Credit to this group of young actors and their directors for that.
The bottom line is that The Love Bites Plays are the exact remedy to a long day at work: short, sharp bursts of high-quality theatre which allow you to relax, unwind and not keep checking your watch for fear of missing the last train home. Sure, it may be a little raw, but sometimes that’s exactly what fits the bill.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!
Sadly, The Love Bites Plays has now finished its run at the Etcetera Theatre.