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Genesis New Writing Night, Genesis Cinema

Presented by Genesis Cinema 
Directed by William Walsh 
★★

Pros: A chance to witness some early work from up-and-coming playwrights.

Cons: Some plays need quite a bit of rewriting.

Our Verdict: A fun night out and a chance to mingle with the actors and playwrights.

Courtesy of Genesis Cinema

I must admit I was a tad nervous at being given this assignment. I have been to numerous new writing evenings and quite a few have been terrible. They are often far too formal, far too serious and shoddily put together. Not so with Genesis New Writers Evening. The team at Genesis have put together an informal evening of good theatre. There are four works performed (yes that’s right, the actors performed the writing for us, albeit with scripts in hands and only a day’s rehearsal) with a fifteen-minute interval in between each. The event does not take itself too seriously and the team are clearly concerned about both showcasing the work of these writers in the best possible light, and putting on a great show for the audience.

Some of the works are stronger than others and most need a bit of reworking. The purpose of nights like these, however, is for audience members to give feedback on what’s not quite working. I also think that, due to the limited rehearsal time, some of the actors made a few strange choices with their characters, which perhaps did not chime with the playwrights’ intentions.

Beef by Alys Metcalf
A dinner party with four friends quickly descends into chaos as accusations of foul play and sabotage emerge and friendships are threatened. Alys Metcalf is on her way to perfecting the art of scripting banal conversations that slowly and hilariously reveal the true nature of her characters. It is a delight when audience members constantly find themselves switching their allegiances as new bits of information are revealed.

Rules by Sam Freeman
A therapy session with a psychiatrist and patient. Who exactly the patient is or why he is in therapy is not made clear, but perhaps that’s not the point. Much of the dialogue is very funny but it’s presented so seriously that it’s hard to establish any attachment to either character. Picking up cues swiftly, which would of course be fine tuned in rehearsal, will help this play’s deliciously black-humour witticisms pop.

Hmm . . . ?  by Iskander R. Sharazuddin
This play explores some very interesting ideas, some clever, some hokum. I enjoyed the discussions about how the anticipation of something is greater than the event itself, and the theory that if people only had one sexual partner in their whole life then all sexually-transmitted infections would be wiped out. After a while, however, the play descends into a series of lectures and muddled ideas about men needing different sexual partners to satisfy different sexual urges, and whether or not it is really possible to be yourself on stage. I would be keen to see this work again at a later stage as there is some thought-provoking material.  

A Second Chance by Matthew Ford
Just an extract from the work is performed for us, and it is a bit confusing trying to work out what’s going on without any backstory. We are introduced to a bouncer looking for a job at a grotty nightclub, but it turns out that he is there to raise the dead (at least that’s what I think was going on). The characters are all spooky and the sound effects create a suitably eerie atmosphere. Some of the dialogue rings a bit untrue. For example, I wondered if two people would really reveal so much personal information when they first met. Perhaps this uncertainty will be answered later on in the play, which brings me to my next point. I thought it would have been better to show us the entire piece, no matter how rough and ready. This is the purpose of evenings like this, after all.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

Genesis New Writing Night runs at the Genesis Cinema 93-95 Mile End Road, Whitechapel, E1 4UJ on the third Thursday of each month excluding August. Box Office: 020 7780 2000 or book online at www.genesiscinema.co.uk.

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Founded in 2011, Everything Theatre started life as a pokey blog run by two theatre enthusiasts and – thanks to the Entry Pass Scheme for 16-25 year olds – regular National Theatre goers. Today, we are run by part-time volunteers from a wide array of backgrounds. Among our various contributors are people who work in theatre, but also people who work in law, medicine, events, marketing and even psychiatry! We are all united by our love for the London theatre scene.
  • William Walsh

    Hi there, thanks for a really good review, good in that it says we were good, and good in that it hits the nail on the head, nice one. Can you please amend the writers names as ‘Alys Metcalf’ and ‘Iskander Sharazuddin’, thanks a mil, William

    • All updated William – our apologies for that!

      James

    • William Walsh

      Much appreciated : )