Thursday, 20 October 2005

Woking Drama Festival - Saturday 15th October - Recall and Award Night

It's the last night of the festival. I've managed to see five out of the nine nights of competition evenings. That's 14 out of 25 one-act plays in total.

Overall, it's been well worth attending. The good, bad and indifferent have just about balanced out, and I think one learns as much from seeing a bad production (how NOT to do things) as from a good one.

Tonight is purely about entertainment. The festival adjudicator chose 3 plays which, in his opinion, will entertain the audience. Usually, the recalled plays perform better than on the competition night. Less pressure, of course.

So, here are the plays we saw this evening:

Woking College Theatre Company - The Perfect Present by Tarek Merchant.

See previous entry for a review.

Theatre 64
- 412 Letters by Matthew Wilkie

Two women analyze their relationship through the letters written by one of them.

The only play tonight I hadn't managed to see, but it's a belter. Marvellous charecterisations of the nervy, chain-smoking would-be writer and her ex-girlfriend, a more casual, marketing manager. I'd have given the 'Best Actress' gong to the girl who played Charlotte - but they won 3 awards anyway!

Matthew Wilkie has won Best Original Play before. This proves what a talented writer and director he is. If this play isn't published and performed professionally one day, I'd be very surprised indeed.

Lighted Fools Theatre Company - Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (Act 2) by Keith Waterhouse

See previous entry for a review.

And after the entertainment comes the real serious business. The awards! They are listed on the drama festival web-site. Unfortunately, Ottershaw Players didn't win anything, but two of our actors, Tim Matthews and Michael Stainer, were nominated for Best Actor and Best Youth Actor respectively.

Disclaimer: I'm not a professional theatre critic or a qualified drama adjudicator. I'm biased in favour of stuff that isn't dull. Sorry if my opinions offend you - it's nothing personal!


Delmonti said...

Matthew Wilkie.... you say he is the writer & director of thew play. Does he work for Theatre 64? or is he still voluntary? I'm just wondering if he does this kinda thing professionaly and writes/directs for lots of Reps or does he work in a kabab shop to pay the rent?

PT said...

I would assume that he's just an amateur, like us all. That said, there's nothing in the rules of the festival against using a professional director. But I guess it's a part-time thing for him.

Chris said...

I 'googled' him and his website ( that he is a 'playwright, writer of stage plays, author of new plays for both the professional and amateur stage' - doesn't mention directing or any other job/profession. The group's website ( gives a short biog which doesn't mention any job. However my feeling is that, as Pete says, he's an amateur, like the rest of us....or perhaps semi-professional.

Matthew Wilkie said...

Very late in the day in responding to these comments but I can confirm that I am / was most definitely an amateur director and whilst I make a few buttons and beans out of writing I don't profess to making a true living out of it (my family and I would starve if I relied on it!). That said, this year has seen three professional productions of my plays - including the professional premier of 412 Letters which will hopefully be touring next year.