Monday, 19 January 2015

JB Shorts @ Re:play, 14.01.14

Re:play has returned to serve up seconds of 2014s most delicious pieces of fringe theatre and, with the four course banquet of JB Shorts on the menu, how could I resist? Diets are short lived anyway! The collection of 4 fifteen minute plays are taken from the sold out JB shorts 11 and 12 programmes, and are written by established comedy and drama writers: Jane McNulty, David Isaac, Justin Moorhouse and the collaborative Peter Kerry and James Quinn.

Our petite fours start with the dark and intriguing A Hairline Crack. The piece explores the relationship of two women, living amongst vast tea sets they have hoarded for an un-pursued business venture. Button (Cathy breeze) is trapped in the residence due to immobility, but she gains power and control over Ronnie (Tigga Goulding) by vindictively questioning her whereabouts, making demands and ultimately smashing her dreams. The piece moves with naturalistic normality with an underlying dark motive that surprises both Ronnie and the audience.

Moving to our main course is the full and rich Paradise Island. Abdullah (Abdullah Afzal), an immigrant looking for work on the island, is near banished, until the King (Richard Hand) is besotted with Abdullah’s wife Liz (a show stealing teddy bear). The piece is wonderfully funny but I imagine not to everyone’s taste particularly when the audience are asked to shout the dreaded ‘he’s behind you’. The piece is a guilty pleasure because the components work – a witty script with pace, a cast with impeccable comic timing, and effective audience interaction.

Moorhouse’s serving is Leaky Bacon, the story of a family of women from three generations. Linking together their interactions are monologues, delivered by each character that shares personal insight into their life, secrets and feelings as well as those of the other characters. The script has clear inclination of something truthful and moving but I feel doesn’t have the opportunity to truly flourish in the short time frame.

A Great War is the final offering; a parody of a ‘highlights segment’ of rolling news show depicting the best bits/updates of WWI. The writing is brilliant, bountiful language and hilarious responses get the style and characteristics of the era, with the whole thing executed perfectly by newsreaders Nicolas (Arthur Bostrom) and Victoria (Victoria Brazier).

Full and satisfied from the smorgasbord of theatre, it’s obvious to me why JB appears on the Re:play bill: because variety is the spice of life.

Words: Kate Morris

Images: Courtesy of HOME

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