Hot Shorts - Review

Hot Shorts is a showcase of new work from in-house & other local writers performed by members of the New Venture Theatre. Each play was well served by its actors.

'With The Light To Come In', written by Mark Wilson whose previous contribution was subsequently broadcast by BBC4 & The World Service, skilfully built up the tension & frustration between a father & a retarded son living together. The play told of the father's attempt to break out of 'the prison cell' of their life by advertising the son's room to let thereby forcing him to move out.

In 'Bunny', Eliza Wyatt created an amusing monologue of a character living in a fantasy world - or was it real? - in which she runs Censorship Free Radio to broadcast to War In Peace, an urban guerrilla unit against the despoliation of the environment. The humour is cut short when tragedy brings reality into her world.

Harry Vennings's 'Gothic Horror' provided both the audience & the cast with great fun. The play was a well-constructed spoof that crossed sombre narrative in the style of Edgar Allan Poe, with bizarre characters that would not be amiss in the Rocky Horror Show. The several scenes of 'Six Bar Blues' seemed more like an acting exercise rather than a play. The writer, Charlie Hughes-D'Aeth provided her character, Flo, with plenty of explosive, angry dialogue that contrasted with the ineffectiveness of the other character.

Justin McKeating gave away his Brighton origins with the names of his characters in 'Thomas Kemp's Strongbox' - Louise Crescent, Frederick Gardens & Banjo Groyne! This was a compact & well-written play that told the story of a writer & a local villain's scam.

The final play was a case of deja vue. 'Stake Out' by Colin Pink was clearly set in Harold Pinter land with its main character, Frank, alternating between sinister menace & bonhomie. Even the sexual frisson between him & Viv owed more than a passing nod to Pinter.

Barrie Jerram