Short Cuts 4: Metamorphosis Review

Short Cuts 4 showcases a well balanced platform of four short plays. It’s once again a tight package, that fills the Hens and Chickens with laughter and a warm evening of good quality theatre.

1. Taking Liberties – by Eliza Power
Two friends wake up somewhere they don’t know. It smells funny, they can’t get out and it all gets better when a lady out of the 1960’s informs them that they are in purgatory and await ‘down there’ unless they agree to some serious rehabilitation via reincarnation. Taking Liberties is strangely endearing though, for what it might have been. The crimes of these men are read out and it is hard to associate the violence with the frightened and desperate men meet. There is little cruelty in this world, and it is up to the preppy girl to remind us of the true consequences of why they are there.

2. Last Man in WatfordClaire Booker
In a world where men are reduced to animals, the matriarchy rules supreme and the zoo keeper is exasperated by her charge. He however is very excited at the young student coming to observe his behaviour. She has never even seen a man and is about to get involved in the kind of life changing relationship that will change her forever. Not him, you understand – he was made for this, if only the intervention had been delayed a few moments more… It’s a well executed idea but over a longer time perhaps it might have more space to be more roundly explored. For example the scenes involving the Man and his blow-up-doll ‘wife’ would have been nice to return to in light of his rejection; punishment and humiliation. Nevertheless it is well performed, directed and amusing enough to make us laugh and pause for reflection.

3. A Life Changing Experience – by Tom Jensen
A New Life. It’s an intriguing proposition, but when it doesn’t work out – what else are you expected to do but return to the shop in a rage and demand an exchange on a faulty item.  This play is a neat exploration of customer service and the way we blame others for our own troubles. It ticks the boxes of a short play, is very engaging and the ‘rebirth’ scene is very well directed. Also a pleasure are the small details of this piece that build a sense of the wider world – the relationship between the workers in the shop is an example that really works.

4. Wooky Lake – by The Grandees
It’s not easy being green (or hairy) and it’s not easy being funny. Fortunately the Grandees have little trouble being either most of the time. Here we receive another zany outing from the three comedians and their many weird and wonderful characters. Not quite as polished as their previous outing at Short Cuts 3 Wooky Lake still gave many laughs and was a fitting end to the evening. On the back of a successful Edinburgh season perhaps introducing an outside director/dramaturg to the Grandees’ team might be an idea to streamline their comedy genius into a structure more suited to a longer form performance.

Short Cuts returns for Halloween – with a creepy, horror based selection of further delights. You’ll be missing a trick if you miss this treat!