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LineUp, Greenwich Theatre

Presented by Vertical Line Theatre Company

Pros: An amusing and at times powerful sequence of theatrical shorts made with tremendous enthusiasm and boasting some very decent acting.
Cons: Bare scenography and some rushed performances as you would expect from a series of untested new writings.
Our Verdict: An enjoyable night out! Recommended if you are not after too many bells and whistles and if you fancy supporting young talent all the way up to Edinburgh.
Courtesy of Vertical Line Theatre Company
Those in the know won’t be surprised by the latest surge of everything short: videos on YouTube, eight second uploads on Twitter and short movie festivals blooming everywhere. Creating masterpieces as well as pitiful belly-ups in a few seconds seems to be the fashionable skill to master in the 2010s. So what would the theatrical equivalent of a short film night be? Well, LineUp at Greenwich Theatre, of course!
Coming once every two months, LineUp is the latest idea from ambitious trio Regan-Stanley-Connell of Vertical Line Theatre, a company formed in 2010 with the declared aim of “producing high quality pieces of new writing from emerging artists”. This is proper fringe theatre, made with lots of good will, hard work, sweat and virtually no money at hand. Structured as seven successive ten minute pieces of new writing, LineUp goes down a treat. For a mere fiver, you can expect alternative realities, sudden turns in storylines, a bit of chase for sex, a pinch of paranoia and a splash of budding talent.
Greenwich Theatre didn’t disappoint: packed in all its greatness with a rowdy, good-spirited crowd sipping away on local Pale Ales and slurping hand-delivered dairy ice creams, it all felt like being out on College trip again. And with everyone happily seated, I started wondering why a few shadows appeared to be crying to the side of the stairs. It turns out the show had started without warning and as the lights went off, two young women were plotting to evade a concentration camp for white people by flying off aboard Avatar-style flying dragons. I enjoyed this Sci-Fi opener from Olga Nikora – Then They Came For Me was effective and creepy.
The Five Stages of Waiting by Caroline Dixey is a tragically comical hospital waiting room scenario in which three sisters demonstrate all their anxious personalities whilst waiting for their mother’s operation. It’s a thoughtful mix of silences and sudden turns. Whilst Lucinda Burnett’s Talking to Alice impresses me as a thoughtful piece of writing which speaks of the neglected yet all too real drama of lone fathers bringing up their emotionally deprived offspring, the delivery is slightly slow for the message to hit home fully. On a more light-hearted note however, Jonathan Skinner’s The Assistant is a thoroughly enjoyable duet, as an increasingly amused home-bound geek discovers that the virtual assistant on his new iMac is more than he bargained for as she materializes in front of his very eyes. It took all of us to the end to realize that the pretty assistant was only a projection of his schizophrenic mind.
A short break to fill up on beer and/or ice-cream and Elizabeth Muncey’s Superhero Snail Boy was ready to take us back to a world of fantasy. Acrobatics and snails don’t go together? Think again. As all the kids went to bed, it was time to spice things up a bit. Andrew Maddock’s In Out (A Feeling) was perhaps the most theatrically daring of the crop: a white slave, brutalized into prostitution from too early an age and a cocaine-sniffing party boy who wanted to rescue her in the night were the human faces of the daily sex-trade in a big city. I thought the use of rhythmical breathing and conflicting emotional drama was fitting and moving.
The grand finale from David Hofberg and Stacey Haber was A Man from Verona, a classic triangle comedy, spiced up by a cliché mafia man deciding to marry his unfaithful fiancée at just the wrong time. Predictable but amusing, although I would have come up with a better Italian accent than the one that was served up!
Overall yes, the props were minimal and recycled in each short play, and the lighting and sound were nothing to write home about, but why care too much when you have all that youthful enthusiasm to sink in and enjoy? Commendable stuff!
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

LineUp runs at GreenwichTheatre every two months. The next performances are on 8th April 2013 and 3rd June 2013.
Box Office: 020 8858 7755 or book online at

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