The Twilight Hour (Season Three)
What is it?
A series of six short plays each 10 minutes at Canal Café Theatre.
What is it about?
Inspired by ‘The Twilight Zone’ these pieces are all have a supernatural theme running back to back with no interval. A call out was made (receiving over 300 submissions the programme read) for plays on this topic and these were the six that were selected to be performed. A scratch night, but with actors off book, along with a hint towards costumes and blocking taking them to a slightly more performance/polished version of the shorts.
THE TURING TEST- BEN RAMSAY
A good opener to the night, strong back and forth conversation with a very clear idea of what the night and scenes would entail from this. I knew exactly where we were and who we were watching instantly with a nice twist at the end, with the performers giving the audience a sense of confidence and ease.
DEB AND JOAN-ISAAC RATHBONE
This felt slightly underdeveloped alongside some of the other pieces. With nice conversational dialogue, it is an emotionally led scene done well by the two female actors but the stakes did not match up in parallel to the other shorts of the evening. Not the fault of anyone and anything as these are all written to a brief in isolation to the rest but definitely room to develop further as it is an interesting idea questioning who we are allowed to fall in love with.
JUST THE THREE OF ME- JON PLATT
This was, for me, the strongest piece of the night. The character Ben was played terrifically well by Barney White in its entirety. A combination of a high-quality script and a clearly competent actor really lifted the whole evening and came at the perfect time. There’s a lot of scope for this piece and character, and would to see a fully developed show in the future.
SUNSHINE IN A BOTTLE- HANNAH SOWERBY
Perhaps my favourite concept- the idea that happiness or ‘sunshine’ can be bought as a drug to avoid ever being sad and the consequences this can have on real life and traumatic events. I think there’s plenty of room to expand this idea as it is very dystopian. The idea is very engaging as well as the characters on a human level. Both actors did well with the script and themes that were touched on in this short.
FOR THE LIVING- CHIE-HOON LEE
Very ‘Black Mirror’ in concept dealing with cloning and a couples turmoil as they prepare for the inevitable death of one of them. A well thought out script, painfully and tenderly acted by the two leads who had clearly worked closely on the deeper more psychological impacts of the circumstances, which really lifted the piece. It was very easy to feel for them both characters and had me questioning how I would react under such circumstances (an answer I have not yet arrived upon).
WHAT ARE WE? MIKE MCGEEVER
Interesting premise but perhaps quite inaccessible for an audience in terms of scientific vocabulary. I found myself being able to grasp the general concept easily but lacking the academic knowledge to really connect with the characters. Perhaps this was deliberate? Enjoyable still and a good ending piece for the scratch.
How did it make me feel?
These sort of scratch nights/shorts evenings are always like a pick n mix at the cinema… a real mixed bag of goodies. That is part of the fun and development for new pieces and the audience seemed to follow well and stayed engaged throughout. With there being two pieces all loosely based on a similar theme I think the 10 minute allocation was perfect to keep the audiences attention and was very well curated by the company with perhaps their strongest pieces falling in the middle of the show. This helped a structure nerd like myself feel satisfied with the overall arc of the evening.
A great space with Canal Café Theatre (Little Venice) and perfect to sit with a glass of red wine inside in the warmth and watch what was an overall very solid and well-presented evening of new writing. I’ll be keeping a special eye out for the middle three pieces in their next stage of development. (‘Just the thee of me’, ‘Sunshine in a Bottle’ and ‘For the Living’)
The Twilight Hour is playing at Canal Cafe Theatre until the 19th October 2019.
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