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Summer Shorts - Melville Theatre Company

Updated: Mar 18

Reviewed by Jordan D'Arcy

 

The Melville Theatre Summer Shorts season is a collection of three locally written one-act plays.

All of these plays were also directed by the playwrights themselves. It is a brave thing to put forward your work to be seen by a wider audience, and Melville Theatre gives local talent the platform to do so.

The first script – Birth, Death, and Somewhere in Between – is written and directed by Kerry Bowden. It features sole actor Nick Stevenson performing three separate monologues. Each monologue is structured around one main character, with Nick switching between this main character and minor characters throughout. The memorisation of the sheer volume of dialogue was undoubtedly impressive, and Nick made each character distinct. I had questions regarding the use of props, as there were some props available on stage, and other items that needed to be mimed – it broke some of the suspension of disbelief.

In A Man’s Best Friend, written and directed by Noel O’Neill, the audience is introduced to George (Michael Dornan) and Betty (Mona Afshar), who are having an argument on a park bench about George’s dog, Martha. This performance was engaging and quaint, with both actors largely delivering their dialogue very much as one-liners, which worked for this script.

Written by Lis Hoffman and Lynda Butler, and directed by Lis Hoffman, Choking follows seven different characters’ storylines. Phil Barnett and Lis Hoffman created a believable adult mother-and-son relationship. Phil Bedworth provided a complex performance as Paul; we see him at home and then with his son (Charlie Young) at home where he is an entirely different person. An absolute standout in this performance was Hugh McGuire as Tim. The leopard print motif for the character of Natasha (Sharon Menzies) was a clever addition to the overall vision. This script was a tad confusing – I felt that it needed to either be a full-length play in order to flesh out more of the storylines of each character or even to be separate one-acts focusing on one or two characters.

Melville Theatre’s Summer Shorts season is a collection of three very different local works, clearly worked very hard on during the rehearsal processes – Melville Theatre should be very proud of their homegrown talent.

Nick Stevenson (Birth, Death, and Somewhere in Between)

Reviewer note: Tickets for this review were provided by the theatre company.

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