Cambridge famous for its academia, architecture and adventures on a punt are axed for one night and replaced with spells, speed dating and death threats in An Evening of Short Plays. Performed by Cambridge Regional College Final Year Acting Students, the evening is filled with a variety of dramatic arts.
Beginning with an expressive movement sequence, storytelling skills are necessary whilst retelling the story of Macbeth. Utilising the intimate space of the Playroom, the cast tell the demonic tale of death, scandal and revenge with commitment. Perhaps lacking a unique take on both the movement and interpretation of the retold story, the students reenact the violence and control with little individuality. However, the story is clear and leads us onto comedic short play When The Surly Burly’s Done by Gill Medway. Exploring the relationship of the three eponymous witches of Macbeth, characterisation is ever present. Observed as the figures of evil, there is much more to the witches than first meets the eye. The witches contemplate age, persona and their responsibility in the story of Macbeth. This witty short play accesses the other side of the witches, cackles included and is performed with a good energy.
The evening then takes a turn to the contemporary with Death Threats, a compromising abusive relationship is shadowed by the delivery of a threatening letter, not the first to be received. Two months have passed since Katherine received threatening letters in the post, but both her and her husband are horrified to discover a letter promising death that very night. This twisted story in its conception seems simple, yet with plot discoveries and character development, the audience are left surprised. Simply staged with naturalistic lighting and set, this piece showcases a trust between its actors enabling believability.
A round of speed dating closes the evening, a multi-rolling extravaganza, the cast perform a range of characters all witty, comedic and individual. Hello Nice to Meet you Goodbye is a surreal yet recognisable evaluation of the contemporary world of dating. Laughing aloud, you follow the developments of first interactions akin to watching a marathon of TV Programme First Dates. With fast paced dialogue and often long awkward pauses, the play highlights themes of love, lust and longing. The organic nature of the piece disguises the lack of direction, which at times could be tighter.
Varied in programming, An Evening of Short Plays although lacking in individuality and direction is not short of passion and commitment. The final year acting students perform with an understanding of the pieces, allowing the audience to engage with the stories and characters. I leave the production with a deeper understanding of the dramatic side of Cambridge University.
Review written by Megan Mattravers.
An Evening of Short Plays is currently showing at the Corpus Playroom until Wednesday 5th April. For more information on the production, visit here…
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