Review: Reboot: Shorts 2
Image: Reboot Theatre Company
Cradle by Sascha Moore
The Answer by Tom Glover
Kiss Kiss by Lily Shahmoon
Vermin by Laura Harper
Cheating by Harry ter Haar
Candy by Tim Fraser
Hot on the trail of their spring show, Reboot Theatre returns to the Bunker with a series of new, short plays by emerging writers.
The plays are (in performance order):
Cradle - By Sascha Moore
"It wasn't my fault. Couldn't make it stop."
A car journey. A party. A love story gone wrong.
"It wasn't. I couldn't. But. But. It's ok. Because you love me. Don't you.
You said. Said you love me. No matter what. Don't you. Don't you."
The Answer - By Tom Glover
It's 1973, Clive is thrilled about his latest piece of technology - an ansaphone - Jenny is not so sure.
As they begin to experiment with their new toy, they discover that far from just answering their phone, it starts to change their mindset.
Kiss Kiss - By Lily Shahmoon
Hayley and Chris have an inappropriate office romance at the most inappropriate time.
Kiss Kiss is a series of text conversations between them, exploring what it's like to love with an expiration date.
Vermin - By Laura Harper
Lucinda is trying to work her way up the social ladder and save herself from her parent's fate.
Ash on the other hand, has rejected his highborn status in favour of joining the Resistance.
The two find themselves in the middle of a fox hunt for two very different reasons; or so they think.
Cheating - By Harry ter Haar
Late at night after a boozy dinner two couples get into a heated discussion over what 'cheating' means to each of them and to their horror discover that they all have a different understanding of the word.
Candy - By Tim Fraser
Northern lad Will doesn't believe in love at first sight.
But when he sees Candy perform on stage (no, that's not her real name), he'll be forced to question everything he thought he knew about himself.
Short plays - shorts for the purposes of brevity - have something unique to offer.
Lasting anything from 5 to 20 minutes or so, they get straight down to business without the need for setting much in the way of background, or filling-in extraneous detail.
Shorts provide drama or comedy in a small, easily digestible dose that doesn't take much swallowing and allow writers to focus their efforts, without limiting freedom of creativity.
And, as shown here in spades, simple ideas are enough to set us off on the course of exploring interesting topics or concepts without getting bogged-down in detail.
Some programmes of shorts can deliver as many as 10 works, but here we find an elegant concoction of just six, presented as two trios separated by an interval.
That format proves impeccable and, in the hands of director Nico Pimparé, offers a well-conceived order of works that embody both generous entertainment value and some dramatic meat to chew on too, in 6 shorts that have both variety of subject matter as well as style.
Stacks of orange crates provide the background for all the shorts, and simple items of furniture - sofas, tables and the like - provide the remainder of the scene-setting.
In Tom Glover's 'The Answer', though , there's an additional item - a rather dated-looking Ansafone, or a telephone answering machine if you prefer.
This new fangled device (since we're back in the 1970s) delivers considerable humour as we find Jenny rather underwhelmed by the prospect of a machine answering calls, and an enthusiastic Clive looking to it to support his business.
We also find more than a touch of mirth in the text messages which are the sole means of communication in Lily Shahmoon's 'Kiss Kiss' where two work colleagues carry on an affair mostly by mobile phone.
But, at least in the humour department, the evening has to go to Harry ter Haars' 'Cheating' which, in a stroke of near-genius, turns a dinner party where the tiramisu is just being served into a discussion of what cheating means to the company of four, and offers some surprising revelations and hilarious reactions over its course.
In the final piece - Candy, a solo performance - Michael Waller's Will is a man who doesn't believe in love at first sight, yet when he spies Billy dressed as a woman, his views change instantly leading him to become obsessed with the 'feminine part' of Billy's persona.
In more dramatic mood, Laura Harper describes a disquieting and mysterious society in 'Vermin', where ritualised fox hunting sets citizens against each other.
And there's poetic poignancy in Sascha Moore's serious and moving 'Cradle', where we find a couple wrestling with the aftermath of loss.
The overall programme for Reboot: Shorts 2 not only proves almost the perfect length, but the well-balanced selection of work is interestingly varied with ample shifts of dynamics and subject matter.
Nico Pimparé keeps a tight grip on proceedings without making restrictive demands on his highly capable and compelling ensemble, who provide a wide and absorbing range of emotions and deftly-timed humour.
And the work of these 6 emerging writers provides adroit ideas and insight, as well as plenty of well-written and entertaining humour, in a well-executed and captivating programme of shorts.
Links and related content
ActDrop listing for The Bunker
Our show listing for Reboot: Shorts 2
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