Sweet As! [by Sharu Delilkan]
I thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s performances of Short + Sweet which is in stark contrast to my review of Week 1.
Varied, funny, clever, poignant and sweet in equal proportions the performers complemented each other creating a great mix of thought provoking dialogue.
In case you haven’t seen Short + Sweet before, it is the biggest little play festival in the world – produces hundreds of the best 10-minute plays from across the globe each year and 2012 marks the third year in a row that the festival has taken place in Auckland.
Week 2 of the three-week festival staged 9 new productions, over two and a bit hours including a short interval.
With so much talent on display it’s difficult to pick a winner (even though that was our task at the end), but A Different Client has to be given its due as the script of the night. What looked like it was gonna be a standard examination of bigotry, class, homophobia and the generation gap, turned into an incredibly kindly and humane twist that was both unexpected and refreshing. Its message is still haunting me – the hallmark of a good script. In a similar vein, Boys’ Outing also turns the tables somewhat, with great performances from Graham Candy and Ryan Dulieu.
Utterly different again Robyn Paterson’s one-person study of a South African couple considering emigrating to NZ, provided intelligent insight into what country allegiance, sense of belonging and nation is all about. Her slick delivery and delineation between the two characters was skillful and well timed.
Outrageous, slapstick humour was provided by The Guilt Sniffer – an out and out parody of ‘The Mentalist’ type American crime shows that dominate the idiot box. The Break Up was equally silly, prompting much LOL response.
Great physical performances highlight domestic animal comedy The Gospel According to Bowser – cleverly using the relationships of pets with humans as a metaphor for religious views, intolerance and downright stupidity.
The Wedding could have been confusing for many, since a whole complicated backstory had to be told within the confines of a motel bedroom – a story of reconciliation, and possibly of passion, over experience or plain common sense?
If all those genres weren’t enough to entertain we also had the Roald Dahl-esque/Tarantino inspired The Gift – an unsettling black comedy thriller flick that could never be confused with the Auckland Theatre Company play of the same name which is currently on at The Maidment.
In short, the diversity of the 10-minute plays shown last night were amazing, with polished performances from all the actors and production staff. The music linking the plays during the slick scene changes also enhanced each moment and set the scene nicely as did the lighting design by Michael Craven.
This night of Short + Sweet was everything it intended to be – a great showcase of talent and a fabulous evening out.
Short + Sweet 2012 is presented by Short + Sweet In association with STAMP at THE EDGE at The Herald Theatre until 6 October. Details see The Edge