Wessex Youth Theatre - Shakers Re-Stirred (Act 1) by John Godber & Jane Thornton.
Four cocktail waitresses tell their stories and those of their customers.
John Godber's plays are usually fun and this one is no exception. As usual, the small cast of four gets to play the main characters (waitresses in a cocktail bar) and also the people who frequent the establishment (fat, drunk businessmen; adulterous couples; girls on a hen night).
The young actresses differentiated their characters well, although I think they could have roughened their accents a little when playing the waitresses.
As the adjudicator pointed out, reducing the size of the staging could have made the production even more pacy and punchy than it was.
Overall, a good start to the evening's entertainment.
Woking College Theatre Company - The Perfect Present by Tarek Merchant.
A poor woman, in 1920s America looks for a Christmas present for her husband. Based upon an O.Henry story.
This was absolutely fantastic! The play was like a mini-operetta. Narrated by an actor playing O.Henry, but with all the actors playing various musical instruments (flutes, pianos, xylophones, basoon, double bass, violin, viola) as well as singing and acting.
The musical score was quite modernist and after hearing a few bars I thought it would be difficult to listen to - but as we were all swept away by the music, those worries disappeared.
Mr Merchant (who wrote the words and music, narrated, and played at least 4 instruments) is obviously a very talented man. His acting/narrating style was very natural and he has an impeccable American accent. And he only looks to be around 20 years old. If he doesn't go on to much bigger things, I'd be very surprised.
All those involved were excellent and they provided a wonderful 50 or 60 minutes of entertainment that I shall not forget in a very long time.
Chameleon Theatre Company - Galway Girl by Geraldine Aron.
An Irish couple tell the story of their marriage.
This was a decent enough 2-hander. A little static, I thought, but it would be difficult to get much more movement into the piece.
The musical 'interludes' were very distracting though. And the actors' accents seemed to wander into Ulster a little too often - rather than staying in Galway and Dublin where they were supposed to be.
That said, the acting was fine and I believed the love, regret, pain and happiness in the relationship which was being described.
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!