In November 2011, 6 writers were paired up with 6 directors randomly and then, again randomly, were teamed up with 4 actors and set the task to write and rehearse a 15 minute play to perform that night. A sell out success, they’re now doing it again, but this time with the added challenge of performing at two venues opposite ends of a Salford street. How did they do? Let’s find out…
This review is based on the performances at The Black Lion Theatre.
Organiser and producers Suzie Short and Barry Evans have set themselves, their actors, writers and directors one hell of a challenge with this years One Play, One Day. Not only do the plays have to conform to a fifteen minute limit but they must also include a prop given to the writer by the director yesterday. It is testament to all the creative forces involved that every single person in the chain rolls with whatever is thrown at them throughout the plays.
The first play Falling opens to the strains of Blondie’s “One Way or Another” which the significance of becomes painfully apparent during the vicious and claustrophobic fifteen minutes that follows. A tale of domestic abuse, two friends rally around when an an ex boyfriend needs a firm touch to stop a degenerative cycle of destruction.
Samuel Thompson and Sharon Heywood particularly put in outstanding performances as the abuser and the abused respectively. A brave, and harrowing tale, it sets the tone aptly for the night by telling a complex story very well within the time limit.
Privacy is a Commodity You’re Entitled to Sell smashes through the fourth wall with a terrific modern day fable on the dangers of social networking. Opening with a parody of Hugh Grant’s infamous recording of a journalist, it explodes into the audience with a relevant and timely warning on the dangers of social media.
Especially striking was the use of actual Tweets within the performance, the light from cast members mobile phones almost the only discernible light source in the room.
The very “Thick of It” style In a Spin has a standout performance from Tom Burroughs as a Malcolm Tucker-esque campaign manager for a unnamed political party left to deal with the fallout of the discovery of child porn on their lead candidates computer.
Hilariously funny and witty, for me it was one of the stand out performances of the evening. Zoe Matthews was brilliant as a completely inept government adviser, David Crowley pulled in a fantastic performance as the man with a conscience and organiser Barry Evans pulled off the toff minister with aplomb.
After the interval, All the World’s Spinning and You’re Standing Still delivered an emotional performance with a slow-burning tale that dealt with a family protesting against a local Tesco development.
Ably acted by all concerned, the family atmosphere that had been created so quickly and so ably by the actresses made me feel as of I could have spent considerably longer in their company. With its bittersweet ending, it was one of the more emotional of the nights plays.
Amanuensis was a strange and quirky little play concerning the worlds rudest businessman entering the worlds rudest cafe. What could have been a humorous play very quickly got dark and creepy very quickly.
Amy Searles and Carly Tarett played two girls unable to leave this strange cafe. Combined with Val Tagger’s natural ability to play to the audience as she played the mystical owner and with Peter Eastbrook’s exasperated businessman, this was one of the more rewarding and clever plays of the evening. It’s uncertain ending allowing audience interpretation (of which there was much) as to what exactly they’d just seen.
The final play A Love Stronger Than Time was performed by writer Tam Hinton. A time-travelling story of lovers lost and then found, it was, unusually for the format, performed solo.
I’m not sure what happened, whether actors were ill or something else, but this play was a bit wacky and out there for me. Whilst there was the germ of a good idea, the structure and execution of the play didn’t fit in with the style or vibe of One Play, One Day, which is a shame. An unfortunately sour note to leave on.
Speaking to some of the actors and directors afterwards, it was very clear they had support and enthusiasm for the project as it allowed them to flex their acting muscles. Certainty as a viewer it allowed me to enjoy stories with no idea where they were going or indeed what they were about.
I would whole heartedly recommend One Play, One Day to anyone. Not only an enjoyable night out, but a chance to see some of the finest talent in the North West and beyond in action.
The Fiction Stroker gives One Play, One Day II five strokes out of five:
Further information on One Play, One Day can be found here.