Pros: An original idea for a piece of theatre that was impressively executed by the cast. Made for a really fun Christmas night out with an anarchic feel.
Cons: Billed as 30 plays in an hour but really was 30 unconnected skits of varying quality. Could have done with some sort of connecting theme. A bit like being inside a drunken drama student’s head – which I think we were!
After pushing our way through the throngs of Christmas parties at the very festive Rosemary Branch Theatre we climbed the stairs to their little pub theatre full of anticipation. We weren’t quite sure how the theatre company were going to cram 30 plays into 60 minutes and make it all hang together in a cohesive way. The answer is that they didn’t.
The very original format of the show was that the audience is in control of the order of the performances. On entering the theatre everyone was given a list of the 30 ‘plays’, each with a number next to it, and on the stage there was a washing line with corresponding numbers on it. The concept was that whoever shouted quickest/loudest the number of the skit that they wanted to see next had their wish granted.
The cast pulled off the concept with impressive aplomb. It’s tricky enough to remember your lines when the play runs in the same order every night, but when it changes every time, remembering what everyone is doing and saying is no mean feat. There were also some practical issues to navigate along the way. Very messy performances that usually would happen at the end of a play or right before an intermission appeared at very inconvenient times, and the actors had to soldier on in spite of problems such as a face full of honey or a stage full of smashed-up Shreddies – which was pretty funny.
The show’s tech guy, Jake Wood, did an excellent job keeping up with the crazy pace despite the fact that he didn’t know which segment was coming next. Music and lighting was on point throughout.
I felt that the show was a bit like a Christmas Quality Street tub. Some of the skits were the delicious purple ones with the caramel and the nut in the middle, while others were like the coffee ones that get left at the bottom of the box until March. ‘Dark, dark, dark James Comey’, ‘the subtle difference requited/unrequited love 1 and 2’ and ‘the glamour of it all’ were all excellent. Others such as ‘It’s raining/it’s pouring’, where some poor sod got a bucket of water in the face for no apparent reason and then had to continue the rest of the show soaked through, well, they just weren’t. The frenetic format lent itself very well to comedy, but the few deep social and political monologues, whilst important, seemed stilted and incongruous in this format.
The performers were all impressively multitalented writers, singers, actors and dancers, and we certainly weren’t bored as we watched them charge around without dropping the energy levels for 60 minutes.
We were in the theatre with 40 chiropractors on their Christmas do who seemed like they’d had quite a few wines before the show – I thought that that was the perfect audience for this anarchic, silly and very fun show.
Written and Directed by: Degenerate Fox
Booking Information: This show has completed its run, but there will be more performances in January and February 2018.