Review: 24 Hour Plays

first_imgThere were plenty of painful moments in the five short plays on show: in one, the actors delivered their bedroom conversation with such intimacy that no one else in the theatre could hear it; in another, an actor was spotted surreptitiously reading his lines off his hand. But there were, in the course of the evening, little moments of quality that glimmered fleetingly, and made the whole exercise worthwhile. by Jack Farchy The most interesting writing came from Tom Campion and Cathy Thomas. Their two characters engaged in a fast-paced free-association dialogue in which sometimes lovely descriptions of imagined worlds and situations were bounced between them. Unfortunately, though, the play went on too long, and much of its sharpness and mystery was lost.   Why would anyone go to see a 24-hour play? You shuffle into a half-empty theatre to watch a series of plays that begin falteringly, struggle about the stage for a quarter hour, and then end abruptly and often inexplicably. But there were enough moments of freshness and quality in this show to make me hope the event will become a regular fixture. Much of the acting was below par – it is a shame that few of Oxford’s starlets could be coaxed out of their more glamorous spotlights. But there were some striking performances: Iante Roache gave an unusual and powerful monologue as a girl waiting in an airport, reflecting on the child she aborted. Her strong Italian accent, her deadpan delivery, and her unflinching eye contact with the audience gave her performance a mesmeric quality. Kabir Soorya showed an uncanny natural ability for playing a schizophrenic, lonely man who lives on take-away pizzas. My favourite moment of the whole evening came when he choked on the piece of pizza he was eating, while delivering the line, ‘I love eating pizza’ – followed by a characteristically twitchy, coy smile to the audience. center_img Why would anyone want to be in a 24-hour play? Land a part in a play that is conceived, scripted and rehearsed all in the space of 24 hours and you’re likely to find yourself rushed on stage, lines half-learnt, to fudge your way through a play that feels like it was written at four in the morning, because it was. And then the lights go out. Perhaps the most fully realised play on offer was Tom Crawshaw’s Most Suspect. A classic farce, it employed some well-crafted exaggerated physical comedy, featuring a foolish detective, a drunken vicar, a cross-dressing wing commander, a fainting hostess, and – my favourite – a saucy west country cook, played by Melissa Julian Jones. last_img read more