Monday, 6 January 2014

The Write Night @ Lass O'Gowrie, 03.12.13

A night of mixed feelings at the Lass O’Gowrie: excitement, as Ransack Theatre production The Write Night made its debut. Sadness, as it is likely to be the last production this reviewer sees at the Lass before it closes. But let’s stick with the fun stuff first and talk about The Write Night, which showcased three short plays covering a wide range of material.

Although titled ‘Write Night’ the first play Boot Sale by Alastair Michael was actually more about the actors and directing than the writing per-se. An exercise in nervous uncertainty, Mike (played by James Warburton) proved just how much can be said without words. In fact, the biggest laughs came from mistakes – props falling over, tea being spilt – which were reacted to with a mixture of cheerful grimaces, flinches and frowns. An easy opener, not too serious but not too silly either.

The happiness was short lived though as the arrival of Box, written by Piers Black-Hawkins, took the night into a darker dimension. The unopened box on stage provided tension throughout as a sort of Chekhovian gun, while actors Luci Fish and Hal Geller were charming and chilling respectively. As to the writing, although the story worked well it felt like there were too many deeply descriptive passages which subtracted from the realism. The poetic parts were well done, but perhaps could have been used a touch more sparingly.

Final piece Enveloped In Velvet (also by Black-Hawkins) was something different altogether, documenting a funeral in fragmentary fashion through the accounts of those involved: the best friend, the former girlfriend, the deceased and (oddly enough) the dentist. Hard to pin down, it seemed to veer from taking itself too seriously to making fun of that very fact. An enjoyable piece, the structure worked well and the directing brought the best out of it.

So, a warm welcome to The Write Night, which will hopefully return with further interesting plays in the near future. Alas, it will most likely not be back at the Lass. Since moving to Manchester a year and a half ago I have seen perhaps a dozen productions there, from football games to romantic romps, all of which have benefited from its cramped charm. Goodbye to the Lass...your pints of bitter, interesting plays and snug space will be greatly missed.

Words: Andrew Anderson

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