Saturday, 13 October 2007

Woking Drama Festival - Day 9

My reviews of the last competitive day at this year’s WDA Festival of One-Act Plays. And see below for the list of the awards (along with my, not entirely inaccurate, predictions...)


Addlestone Community Theatre presented The Edge by Steve Carley

Here's a play which I saw ACT perform at Addlestone community centre back in the Summer. Which makes it diffcult to review objectively as I keep comparing it to what I'd already seen!

A very effective split set, the two areas separated by a section of wall. Each area was lit very well - the colder light for the doctor's office and the warmer one for the place of work.

All three actors were very confident playing the naturalistic aspects of this play. Bill Jackson as Stuart was convincing as the puzzled colleague. Both Bill and Graham Botterill (Marcus) were far more relaxed and assured in their acting than I have seen them previously. Lynsey Poole as the Doctor was also good.

I thought that the scenes in the Doctor's surgery needed to be played with more pace, urgency and (in Marcus's case) more committment to a rising sense of panic.

The ending was very well staged with both actors handling difficult, snappy dialogue very well - though I think that the pace could be pushed even further.

Overall, a definite improvement over what I thought was a good production in the first place. Well done ACT and especially to Andrew Bradley on his directorial debut.


Byfleet Players presented May We...? Ouis, Mais... by Wilf Hashimi

The Best New Play award at the festival is awarded to the piece of writing which shows most promise on paper. For me, this was most deserving of the award, of all five of the new plays we've seen, despite some obvious hiccups which occurred in performance!

This was a surreal play, set in an anonymous space and featuring a male/female couple who acted out scenes from a doomed relationship. Theatre of the Absurd is making a bit of a comeback at the moment and this piece was reminiscent of Beckett and N.F. Simpson.

Bob Wells, as Walter, was excellent as the bewildered man who never quite knew what was around the corner in his relationship with the spiky and fragile Dolly (Kate Brazier). His acting style was very natural, which served to highlight the strangeness of the situation we were viewing and he did a very good job at keeping the play moving forward and making sense when the action diverted wildly from the script!

I don't think I can say much more. The piece that was performed was so different from what was written (so I'm told) that it was almost a different play! So I'll leave it by saying that this was an incredibly funny, enjoyable and thought-provoking piece of drama, based upon a play with the potential to be an excellent piece of work.


Rule of Three presented Trouble In The Works; Precisely; New World Order; Victoria Station by Harold Pinter

These are four short plays, sketches really, by Pinter from across his career. All of them deal , as do many of his works, with communication, miscommunication, authority and control.

Lit with excellent, imaginitive stark lights from unexpected angles and backed by a superb set of sound cues which brought to mind (for me anyway) the twisted world of David Lynch, this piece was a technical tour de force.

The acting in each individual sketch was very well executed, but often played too much for comic effect and not enough for the very real menace that is present, especially in the last 2 sketches.

The fact that Rule of Three decided to play these 4 pieces together meant that there wasn't an overarching theme or story for us to follow, so while I found this a riveting and taut piece of theatre, I think it fell outside the realm of the "One-Act Play".

Recalls

The adjudicator announced that the following plays were to be recalled for the final night's performance prior to the awards ceremony:

The Island by Send ADS

Warrior Square by Wessex Youth Theatre

The Donahue Sisters by Horsell ADS

Awards

Here are my predictions for the awards which will be given out tonight. I might be totally wrong, but it will be fun to see which ones I got right! My predictions in italics and actual results in bold.

THE BRUZARD CHALLENGE CUP for the Festival Winning Play:
The Art Of Remembering by Runnymede Drama Group
The Island by Send ADS

THE EILEEN HARPER MEMORIAL TROPHY to the Festival Runners Up:
The Island by Send ADS
The Art Of Remembering by Runnymede Drama Group

THE EDNA NASH CUP for the Third-place Play:
Paper of Pins by Another Theatre Company
The Donahue Sisters by Horsell ADS

THE YOUTH AWARD for the Best Play by a cast Under 21 years of age:
Warrior Square by Wessex Youth Theatre
Warrior Square by Wessex Youth Theatre

THE GODALMING THEATRE GROUP CELEBRATION 85 SALVER for Directing:
Faith Powell for The Art Of Remembering by Runnymede Drama Group
Trevor Leek for The Donahue Sisters by Horsell ADS

THE IAIN HOME ROSE BOWL for the Best Performance by an Actor:
Peter Heath as John in The Island by Send ADS
Peter Heath and Matt Kitsell as John and Winston in The Island by Send ADS

THE RICHARDS-SMITH CUP for the Best Performance by an Actress:
Nancy Usher as Reba in The Art Of Remembering by Runnymede Drama Group
Stella Rogers as Winnie in Paper of Pins by Another Theatre Co.

THE HANDLEY-JONES CUP for the Best Supporting Actor:
Tony Bowman as Grumio in The Taming of the Shrew by Farnham Shakespeare Co.
Matt Vowles as Boy in After Midnight Before Down by Guildburys

THE IRENE HUTCHENCE CUP for the Best Supporting Actress:
Alison Brennan as Carole in Paper of Pins
Zoe Lyall as Jan in Laughter in the Shadow of the Trees by Thurrock Court Players

THE DESMOND HOLT MEMORIAL CUP for the Best Performance by a Junior Player:
Katie Dancey as Mother in Warrior Square
Matt Lapinskas as Barry in The Opposite of People by Brooklands Theatre Co.

THE GUILDBURY SHIELD for Technical Excellence:
Trouble In The Works, etc, by Rule Of Three
The Art of Remembering by Runnymede Drama Group

THE SPOTLIGHT AWARD for the Best Use of Lighting:
The Art Of Remembering by Runnymede Drama Group
Paper of Pins by Another Theatre Co.

THE MADELINE BODEN ROSE BOWL for the Best Original Play:
May We... Oui Mais by Wilf Hashimi (Byfleet Players)
May We... Oui Mais by Wilf Hashimi (Byfleet Players)

THE GRAHAM BROCKIS AWARD presented for the Best Use of Sound:
Trouble In The Works, etc, by Rule Of Three
Trouble In The Works, etc, by Rule Of Three

THE PAULINE BROWN AWARD for BEst Backstage Management:
Runnymede Drama Group

THE BARBARA HUNTLEY CUP (Adjudicator's Award):
Rita Warren as Kitty in A Pity About Kitty.

I must stress that I am not a professionally qualified reviewer or adjudicator. My opinions are wholly subjective.

3 comments:

MaryB said...

I do love reading your theatrical posts, PT. I hope my next visit your way coincides with either an Ottershaw production or some other fine local play (upon your recommendation, of course). Your love of theatre really shines through when you post about it.

PT said...

Thanks Mary!

I've since discovered that quite a few of the Woking festival participants have been reading along too! I hope I haven't been too cruel or brutal about anyone...?

Delmonti said...

I think Mary hit the nail there Pete. Very very good indeed.

On another note.... Mr Hunt is playing at the Boiler Room in Guildford on Thursday 25th October 7pm.

Tickets are here


Thought it would be a good time to get together befor I have my new leg fitted.
Venue information is here