Vertical Line Theatre Company
Pros: A very enjoyable series of short plays to both amuse and entertain. Provides us with glimpses into our current world issues.
Cons: A bit short on the production value, with a few kinks to iron out here and there.
Our Verdict: Some fantastic new work, great for a fun night out! Complete with that great feeling of knowing you’re supporting up-and-coming talent.
Watching new writing line ups can be a bit of a hit-and-miss experience, but I’m glad to report that Vertical Line Theatre’s LineUp
is very much an all-round hit! Everything Theatre is no stranger to LineUp
, which is held at Greenwich Theatre
every two months and gives emerging talent a stage to see their work performed on. Having reviewed the evening back in February
, we’re happy to see that it’s still going strong. The theatre itself is a friendly place with a great little bar area to mingle in and discuss the night’s performances to your heart’s content. There were a total of five of these performances, each lasting roughly 10-15 minutes and exploring the spectrum of human emotions and problems – big and small – that go on in the world all around us.
The night opened with Robbie Best’s Shingletown, a darkly amusingly and quite surreal tale about a government certified seaside town of addicts that then draws to a surprisingly heartbreaking conclusion as long-time resident Ronnie reads a letter from his past self. Next up was a brilliant showcasing of black humour, as the protagonist of Sean Cook’s Clench takes a look over his mundane life (and garden shed) and has an extremely awkward encounter with a door-to-door salesman. Continuing on with the theme of human relationships, Guards, by Anthony Teague, provides a close-up look at workplace dynamics, with a two-man cast demonstrating the power balance between two security guards with tight and almost sinister dialogue.
After a short interval, the line up carried on with Joseph Charlton’s The Cannibals, a wonderfully intense and disturbing drama set in a restaurant kitchen. The strange but fairly stable balance between the charismatic but unsettling head chef, his cheerful second in command and their young ingratiating waiter is thrown out of sync by the arrival of the new waitress Guilia, who quickly becomes all three men’s object of desire, turning the kitchen into the battleground of a compelling power struggle.
The final work of the night is an examination of a wider reaching battle – the 2006 Israeli Hezbollah war. Suffering in Sirens, by Adam Brummit, is based around the experiences of an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian detainee and uses aspects of physical theatre to connect several interwoven narratives. A powerful piece raising many important questions about war and racial conflict, Suffering in Sirens drew the night to satisfying close.
This is the heart of fringe theatre. Small stage, basic setting, minimal props and great acting! LineUp is all about showing off new talent, and to be honest I was thoroughly impressed by the level of talent on display. I haven’t seen a series of short plays this good in a long, long time – a really enjoyable night out.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!
LineUp runs every two months at Greenwich Theatre.