Thursday, 26 April 2018

Overheard conversations make for magnificent entertainment

WHAT an inspired idea Craig Taylor had when he decided to write One Million Tiny Plays About

WHAT an inspired idea Craig Taylor had when he decided to write One Million Tiny Plays About Britain — a collection of nearly one hundred vignettes about Britishness and life in Britain gleaned from conversations overheard the length and breadth of Britain.

First published in the Guardian, now a selection of about 30 of the plays has been drawn together in joyous harmony by director Laura Keefe and is playing at the Watermill Theatre in Bagnor before embarking on a tour to village halls, rural venues and arts centres.

The snapshots into other people’s lives give a wonderful insight into 21st century life as it is lived across every spectrum of society, reflecting complicated relationships that are sometimes hilariously funny, sometimes poignant and sometimes unashamedly sad.

The vehicle is a game of bingo, and as each number is called out we instantly drop in on another conversation.

The quickfire nature of the production calls for brilliant acting skills and lightning costume changes the likes of which you will never have seen before.



Cue the fabulously talented Emma Barclay and Alec Nicholls, who give a masterclass in their art that will leave you breathless. The pair transform themselves into small children, irritating brats, domineering middle-class matrons, vulnerable teenagers and even more vulnerable octogenarians seamlessly and with complete conviction.

Just the costume changes alone were most impressive, and at times very funny indeed as they peeled off layer after layer to accommodate the next character they were portraying.

Wigs, props, beds, lights and buckets were all there on the stage, and they used them to magnificent effect.

After the interval we all joined in an impromptu game of bingo, which was a new departure for many of us, and a good time was had by all before we were led off again to eavesdrop into other people’s lives.

This production is a tour de force that offers magnificent entertainment value and is a must-see for that alone.

But seeing it will also subtly affect the way you move among your fellow men in future and help you realise that there is entertainment all around you, if you only listen out for it.

One Million Tiny Plays about Britain is at the Watermill until Saturday and then on tour.

For a list of venues visit www.watermill.org.uk or call the box office on 01635 46044.

Review: Mary Scriven



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