Shorter+Sweeter. 9 short plays from the Short+Sweet Festival at Canberra Playhouse Tuesday June 3 to Saturday June 7, 2008, 8pm.
This is entertainment plus, certainly in short chunks but not sweet in the sentimental sense.
Mark Cleary’s Upwardly with Sophie Cook is an opening that rings true. In Moving Fast by Adam Gelin, Roger (Alan Flower) shows Susan (Olivia Solomon) how easy it is to change the world. Changing residences is a bargain of sorts for Louie (Sophie Cook) and Betty (Christine Greenough) in Catherine Cresswell’s This Bitch Called Home. The last moments of the dog, in Borys the Rottweiler, by Christopher Johnson, are played with great tenderness by Heath Wilder, while Matthew (Johan Walraven) has just the technique to soften the shock for Claire (Sophie Cook) of waking up in his bed, in Saturday Night Newtown, Sunday Morning Enmore by Alex Broun, with no idea how she got there.
After a decent interval, the six actors give us the amusing musical solution to The Keys to the Mystic Halls of Time by Matt Casarino, the frightening experience of a briefcase on a train platform in The Example by Tom Taylor, the horror of Himmler’s lampshade in Relics by Iain Triffitt and Brett Danalake, and the final embarrassment of Adam and Eve in Paradise by Steven Hopley.
Felicity Burke and Alex Galeazzi are directors in addition to Cleary, Gelin and Cresswell.
The Short+Sweet Festival is a great example of professional-standard independent theatre which has grown out of the demise of the Sydney Festival Fringe. Over 200 plays are premiered in Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore each year, with plans for expansion to Malaysia and other countries. This program is a selection of nine of the best, gaining funding support from Playing Australia and Arts on Tour NSW as well as corporate sponsorship. They are sharply observed, humorous, ironic and touching scripts, well deserving of this support and the cooperative arrangements provided by the Canberra Theatre Centre.
Variations on the theme are the ShortSweet+Song Festival held at the Seymour Centre, Sydney, in March, sponsored by the Australian Institute of Music, and the Fast+Fresh Festival for writers and performers under 18. This should be of great interest to Canberra’s college drama departments. The ten-minute script is a disciplined constraint and a great learning device. Go to www.shortandsweet.org/fast-and-fresh .
And in the meantime don’t miss Shorter+Sweeter - the best of the best.
© Frank McKone M.A.,
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