Photo credit: Theatre with Teeth
Theatre with Teeth once again presented a fortunate audience with an unusual selection of sketches and scenes, as the much-anticipated 24 Hour Plays returned to the stage. Five different acts, in line with the theme ‘The Parody’, were written and rehearsed in just 24 hours, and were all rather excitingly brought to life by the team of 19 actors.
The Art of Love Written by Tim Allison & Tom Giles Directed by Abigail Elliston
It seemed that the night was going to open to an atmosphere buzzing with love. Or perhaps not. The Art of Love, written by Tim Allison and Tom Giles, purposefully broke down the love process into five parts. Love was portrayed as vague, but adhering to a distinct art, and the play saw this art taught hilariously to a young couple. The act began by toying with the idea of love as advertised by the social norms (think cheesy pick up lines and movie-like kisses) but we were soon drawn back to the reality of a real relationship. There is always the expectation of a break-up, and the first act explored that beautifully.
Don’t Step On Your Good Intentions Written by Megan Hill Directed by Laura Holbrook
On a darker note, Don’t Step On Your Good Intentions created a more mysterious and peculiar vibe. The scene was set in a room between Heaven and Hell, and the three main characters were waiting for their turn to reach either the higher or lower end of eternity. Each had their own story, each with a deep provoking thought. The actors effectively set the mood, with intense eyes and solemn faces. They subtly drew us to the depressing and raw aspect of their own stories one by one, then quickly returned back to the waiting room, reminding the audience of their approaching fate. One particularly striking feature of this unique act was a pair of masks worn each time a story was told, as well as the ending in which “Para” (TC Chu) slowly removed his shirt to reveal Hebrew words written across his back. The ending honestly left me with goose bumps.
Frightened, Knotted, And A Bit Chilly Written by Lara Hamilton Directed by Alex Beyer
The entire evening felt like a roller coaster ride because once again the tone changed, from the seriousness of the second play to the comedy and light-heartedness of the third. Frightened, Knotted, And A Bit Chilly, a twist on recent Disney movies Brave, Tangled and Frozen, incorporated elements of modern life and puns along the way. The actors looked pretty similar to the Disney characters, the puns made were smooth, and the act addressed how certain familiar tropes of our childhood favorites (singing out of the blue, or marrying the prince she just met for example) don’t seem to fit well in the real world.
The Attic Written by Amy Blakelock Directed by Dan Squire
The Attic was about a ‘fairytale’ life that a self-proclaimed perfect mother created for her children. The idea that her children were forced to play all day long, not fight, and eat measly sandwiches gave the audience a chance to discover the flipside of an idealistic life gone wrong. The fierceness of the mother figure was evidently felt, especially when contrasted with the frightened states that the three children were in. Curiosity about the hush-hush outside world gradually stirred among the young ones, before their dissatisfaction pushed them to brutally get rid of young Jemima (Lydia Breckon). The topic of parenthood was vividly explored throughout the act, weaving itself with a warped ideology of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ taken onto an entire new level, as well as parodying elements of a perceived kind of perfect parenting.
A Shameful Inheritance Written by Josh Clarke Directed by Beth Atkinson
Ending the entire night with a more traditional British costume drama, A Shameful Inheritance touched on the dilemma of the late Lord Falmouth’s young daughter (Paige Evans) – the choice between her inheritance and her true love. Despite having the largest cast and a last minute actor change, the play still managed to bring some great comedy to the stage. The actors were very comfortable in their roles and I was at ease watching them unfold the story of Victorian drunkenness and debauchery, which proved a great closure for the night, and featured a very unexpected cameo from writer Josh Clarke in a tiger onesie.
Details of upcoming Theatre with Teeth productions can be found here. 24 Hour Plays will take place again in Term 2 and Term 3.