Pint Sized, Pleasance Theatre - Review

The last time the Pint Sized event took place in 28th September 2015, the plays were performed at the Jermyn Street Theatre in the heart of the West End. The second Pint Sized event, while having to forego a more central location, has grown exponentially by hosting the event at the main house of the Pleasance Theatre in London. On this occasion, eight short plays or excerpts were performed – all very different other and distinct from the West End selection. The following are a cross section of the events that took place that night:
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DON'T DRINK THE WATER
Written by Zuri Eshun
Directed by Tatty Hennessy, Ashlea Kaye
Cast: Janae – Zada Eshun, Clyde – Keethan Krish, Odette – Karlina Grace-Paseda
Angelina – Hannah Sinclair-Robinson, Tonia – LaTanza Britts, Thelma – Mali Ann Rees

Set in the US, this (almost) all-female play was brimming with energy as Odette and the younger ladies of her acquaintance discussed 'loved-up' Janae and her new musician boyfriend Clyde. As the youngest of the group, Thelma shows what she lacks in an active love life, she more than makes up with wisdom. Meanwhile Odette shows that not only does she have 'a past', she educates the younger women about how things have changed for African-Americans over the decades.

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BISCUITS
Written by David Raif
Directed by Rob Henderson
Performed by Christina Baston

This particular play really impressed me, especially as the way the subject matter was tackled is unique. Ostensibly a one-woman play about food (or the lack of it), it starred Christina Baston as Joanna. Recalling an ad she once saw for treatment of weight loss, Joanna takes the audience on this dieting odyssey – from the small implants that suppressed her hunger to the unexpected side effects from the unlicensed, experimental treatment... Humourous at times, but thought-provoking all the same.

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WHEN I MET ROSIE
Written and performed by Sarah Milton
Directed by Hannah Hauer-King

Her second contribution to Pint Sized, Milton's short play evoked the lyricism of her earlier play The Night Tella. Recalling the highs and lows of being with the aforementioned Rosie, the variations of repeated lines denoting a sea change in their relationship."...And that was ok," to  "...And that was far from ok."

Asides from the increasing confidence in the rhythm and delivery of her Spoken Word pieces, there is a natural inclination in her work to delve into the darker side of women's relationships and experiences, with insight and clarity. A talent to watch.

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BANJO
Written by James Corrigan
Directed by Andy McNamee
Cast: Nadia Albina, James Corrigan, Dougie McMeekin, Nathan Welsh

This play reminded me in tone of certain examples of Australian cinema, most notably the the threat of violence and dark characters from Chopper and Animal Kingdom, as well as the dry humour of The Castle. Holding a man hostage à la Reservoir Dogs, they badger him about where is he 'really' from, where his family hails from. If he doesn't tell them what they want to hear, Nadia Albina's character will have 'something to say on the matter'... This play's candid bluntness about ethnicity distracts one from the nature of the interrogation scene itself, though perhaps that is the point... Lightening the mood, Dougie McMeekin's 'man of few words' has everyone in hysterics with his dead pan delivery.

As for Albina herself – a distinguished actor who has worked with Graeae in the past, as well as playing Blanche DuBois with the Secret Theatre Company at Lyric Hammersmith – her 'villanous' role incorporates a history for why right arm finishes at the elbow. At first I thought that something like that should be overlooked, but the way her backstory in the play uses it to give an insight into her psychological profile was ingenious.

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PORTIA
Written and performed by Lindsay Dukes
Directed by Joe Hufton

This excerpt was from a play that was performed in its entirety at Theatre503 a few weeks ago. (For review of this play, see earlier review).

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WOODEN OVERCOATS
Written and directed by David K Barnes
Cast: Ruttyard Funn – Felix Trench, Antigone Funn – Beth Eyre, Eric Chapman – Tom Crowley, Georgie Crusoe – Ciara Baxendale

This faux soap opera which has its origins from an established podcast, brought some welcome levity to the evening, and proof that comic timing and inflection can have people rolling about with laughter.

Linking all the plays, musicians Carl Alexander and Joseph Hardy were a welcome addition to the evening, adding their own tongue-in-cheek insights to the proceedings, with songs such as It's All Been Done Before.

© Michael Davis 2016

Pint Sized ran at the Pleasance Theatre on Monday 9th May 2016.

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Other short plays that took part at same event:
HUNTERS
Written by Sarah Tejal Hamilton
Directed by Nicholas Oliver.
Cast: Charlotte Christie, Evie Killip, Fergus Leathem

PROFILES
Written by Christopher Adams
Directed by Cassie Webb
Cast: Geoffrey – Will Coban, Danny – Joseph Black

 

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Author's review: 
4