In the versatile venue that is The Space, we are presented with an intimate evening of diverse stories covering themes such as gun crime, the power of ballet and a stuffed Pomeranian dog.
Stephanie Ware in Mansplaining: The Musical, a 15-minute one- woman show in which she discusses the unwarranted opinions garnered from men, kicks off the evening. Written by Mike Carter and directed by Saffron Myers, this piece is based during the 1940s, its message ringing true to this day, with Ware’s character bursting with humour and spunk. Taking place in a dancer’s dressing room, songs of tired feet are entertaining, however the singing moments are quite static, which occasionally causes the energy to lag. This story of the cutthroat world of showbiz has some good points, the flamboyant New Yorker character commanding the space.
The second offering, as a huge contrast, is Home Time by David Hendon, which is directed by Paula Chitty. Elizabeth George plays the caring mother, telling stories of her young son’s first day of school and his questionable colour choices for his painting of a fire engine. What begins as a relatable piece on the pressures parents face when it comes to their child’s appearance, behaviour and even the standard of their birthday parties, slowly takes a dark turn. We are taken to many different locations during George’s time on stage, all which are simply but cleverly suggested through movement and lighting. Whilst her portrayal of Jenny has witty moments, often her energy and pitch remains on the same axis, becoming somewhat monotonous. That being said, the piece does take a shocking turn and becomes a tale of love, loss, and all that comes with it.
After the interval, Snowbird by Anne Murray plays, cueing the beginning of the next instalment of the festival, John Dixon’s Binkie and the Snowbirds. Directed by Danielle McIlven, Tim Blackwell plays this vibrant character, who introduces us to his pet dog Binkie, and tells us how they came to be in the state they are now, using the backdrop of a cocktail bar. Camp and cheeky slides into the absurd as Blackwell plays the coquettishly unhinged character, effectively playing with tempo and delivering laughs while maintaining an underlying unease which builds throughout.
Sixth Position, written and directed by Louise Jameson, is the penultimate presentation in this programme. A graceful ballet dancer, Holly Jackson Walters, begins her dance with her back to the audience, full of poise. That is until she notices us watching her, which causes her to lose any sort of composure, revealing the character’s real, quirky and endearing self. This is an interesting piece, as Jameson discusses the life pressures of perfection, achievement and regret through the basics of ballet. A beautifully eloquent short play, showing that no matter your experiences, everyone can relate to these life questions.
The sizzling finale of the night rests on the shoulders of Alexandra Donnachie in Skyclad, written by Serena Haywood and directed by Lou Mason. A ditzy witch society member brings down the house as she tells us of how she came to be a witch-in-training. Through seamless character changes and wonderful storytelling, Skyclad is the highlight of the night and definitely worth the wait, bringing the evening to a hilarious close.
One Festival is playing at The Space until the 27 January 2018
Photo: The Space