Short Cuts 3 - A Box of Tricks

Short play nights can a mixed bag of sweets, it’s part of the program that you take the slightly underdone ones (chewy bananas)  with the fabulous (sours) - and all in all they are great evenings anyway, because of the variety of tastes. Theatre is subjective at the best of times so you also end up with people who prefer the chewy bananas over the sours and so generous audiences and generous applause fill the theatre. In the recent run of Short Cuts 3 at the Hens and Chickens the pick ‘n’ mix had been carefully selected so standard never dipped and indeed and it was all very good. 

1. Another Girl by Eliza Power

Tom Fava's Bryan cowers under the unleashed Joanna played by Eliza Power.

Well suited to the short form, this play revolved around what seemed to be an ideal couple. He gets just what he wants and she, well she is programmed to give him just that. That is until she is caught in an electrical storm, her circuits break and Bryan is left far more alone that he ever thought he would be again. An unsympathetic voice on the end of the phone doesn’t prove much solace and with through energetic performances the present and past collide into quite a dark love story. It might not be what he wants, but it might be what he needs.
2. A Dog Hotel by Nia Jones

Abla Kandalft as the broken but hopeful Glenna and Phoebe Price as the snippy and pragmatic Carly.

This one involved a box of memories left to two women who share nothing except an old friend who recently died. In terms of pacing it was a good choice to put this one second on the bill as it was moving and dealt with heavier content than the others. I think it might be worth exploring the situation further and developing the friendship between the characters - after all whilst friendships formed in high school often don’t last, at the time they are intense enough to leave traces all over who you end up becoming. These two? Who are Carly and Glenna? There is more there to work with, although the time we spent with them was tantalizing as they were both well performed characters that would be suited to a longer piece.

3. A is for Arsenic by Lexy Howe

Lexi Howe, Camila Fiori and Danielle Nott enjoying the pleasures of love and crime.

This play had a delightful and playful murder plot. It worked really well, was charmingly performed and had a nice snappy rhythm to the dialogue. In a good piece of direction there wasn’t much physical movement on the stage, so the resulting performance was tight, structured and played to the strengths of the text. April, Cecily and Joan - unlikely murder suspects but they have one thing in common - the man they all fell for separately and hated together.

4. The Little Wula written and performaned by the Grandees

Andrew Mudie as the creepy and springy Leaping Lizard taking control of Marny Godden as the  brave Little Wula.
Well, this play was absolutely crazy in the best kind of way. It was both bizarre and wonderful and absolutely hilarious. There is nothing quite as fun as being in the audience when actors are so enjoying themselves - but always feeling safe enough that they know what exactly they are doing. This one again as potential for further development, and it would be Interesting to see this comedy troupe develop it further, I think it would be quite suited to radio - but equally the staged dynamic is great and it is all a curious mix of that works very well - so perhaps a hybrid form? Either way I hope to see more of the adventures of Little Wula and Clobberguts, although the Leaping Lizard looks gone for good!
It was a good decision to have four plays in this presentation. It worked well and the timing of them all fitted nicely. They were well written, directed and produced and fittingly as Short Cuts is developing a good critical base it is going to be continuing to provide short play evenings throughout the year. Sweet!