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short and sweet theatre week 1

Marcelle Weaver and Lachlan Edmonds-Munro in LIFE LINES, a highlight of Week 1

Short & Sweet Theatre Sydney is the largest festival of 10 minute plays in the world! This festival, now in its 13th year, takes place over a period of two months in the summer. The program, different every week, features approximately ten short original plays each night. This festival provides an opportunity for emerging writers, directors and actors to “strut their stuff” and hopefully gain the exposure needed to launch their careers to the next level. The festival is also a competition, and audience members are invited to vote for their two favourite plays; the winners will be selected for the Gala Finals on 21-22/3/2014.

The Festival  opened on Wednesday night and the house was full! There were eleven plays on the program, and so the set was almost bare as quick changes of scene from one play to the next are a necessary feature of this format. Each play required only minimal stage furniture and props.

Last night was a mixed bag. Some plays were impressive, but some of them didn’t work for me at all.

HARRASSMENT, written and directed by Michael Hemming, tells the story of a young man called Daniel, whose job and relationship are both threatened when he faces an unusual charge of workplace harassment. The charge is unusual because he claims that he has never spoken to the complainant and she agrees with this statement. How is this possible? The audience is intrigued by this ridiculous situation and by Daniel’s repeated claims of “I didn’t do anything!” However, there is a very clever, amusing “twist in the tail” of this play, which this reviewer won’t spoil with further explanation. Ben Coombes’ performance as Daniel was impeccable, and this play alone made the evening worthwhile!

LIFE LINES, written by Donna Hoke and directed by David Burrows, was a very moving experience. In this play, a mother discovers her dead son’s journal, and fights with her conscience over her right to read it. The performance of the mother played by Marcelle Weaver, and the son played by Lachlan Edmonds-Munro brought this dilemma to life. This reviewer has had the exact same experience after death of my son and so, this play was especially poignant. Most of us will be faced with the job of sorting through the belongings of a dead friend or relative and there are difficult issues here. To what extent does the deceased’s right to privacy dominate the grieving person’s need to hold on to any, if not all, remnants of that person? There are no easy answers, and the script did not seek to minimise this issue. This play was heart-felt and searing in its honesty. Thankyou!

METAMORPHOSIS, written by Sam Paine and directed by David Warner, tells the story of a young country boy and his journey, through gender reassignment surgery, into a strong, confident woman. Sam Paine who plays the part of John/Josie gave a stellar performance, clearly projecting the pain of the young John, who felt uncomfortable with his sexuality form a very young age. The transformation in the character was believable and moving. Well done!

THERAPIST, written by John Lombard and directed by Rob White, is a very clever, entertaining ride for the audience. In a twist on the classic boy meets girl plot, this boy meets a girl, likes her, and when he discovers she is a therapist, becomes her patient. This scenario is clearly fraught with potential problems, and the resolution of these is very entertaining. A very well written piece of comedy!

The heats of the Short & Sweet Theatre Festival runs until the 3rd March at the King Street Theatre, Newtown.


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