In a Nutshell

Lane Cove Theatre Company. The Performance Space @ St Aidan’s, Longueville. September 27 – 29, 2019

Reviewed : Sept 29, 2019

Photo : supplies

Putting together a program of short plays – each approximately 10 minutes long – is ambitious, daunting and perhaps a bit risky. Finding the plays for a start. Ensuring their entertainment value. Shaping them into a program … to say nothing of finding directors, cast members and a crew to change sets and organise multiple sound and lighting cues. It takes time, consideration, imagination, organisation … and even a little ruthlessness!

In their ‘inaugural 10-minute play competition’ – part of the Lane Cove Festival – this resolute and courageous little theatre company, that has faced two completely unwarranted setbacks in the last two years, has taken to the task with its usual grit and determination.

With producer Rachel Ashley, they have devised a program that is original, varied, entertaining … and offers new creative opportunities for its membership. Imagine plays by 10 different playwrights, supervised by10 different directors, played by over 20 actors and managed by a crew of four! That’s pretty amazing when one considers the behind-the-scenes organisation and commitment required.

The topics/themes of the plays selected are remarkably diverse. A theatre haunted by a dead Shakespearean actor; a rookie police constable infatuated by CSI; a ‘new’ technology that enables one to reconstitute one’s dead spouse! A dead woman re-visiting the cliff where her husband met his death; an elderly woman who finds a heartbreaking revelation during speed dating; a job interview that isn’t really what it seems! A young couple that meet at a bus stop and manage to connect despite the guy’s dependence on 350 apps on his phone!

Photo : supplied

The imaginative directors use the space and props sparingly – as is necessary to ensure speedy transitions and audience attention. Cast members – all with varying levels of experience – are well-rehearsed and committed, bringing appropriate characterisation, energy, humour … and in one instance, touching pathos to their performances. To name anyone specifically would detract from the inclusiveness that Ashley and her directors have achieved in the production.

LCTC is to be congratulated on this first foray into a venture that involves so much organisation, time and so many people. Perhaps a little commentary between items could have been used to break the blackouts between items, or even some dim light to allow the program to be read easily, but, that’s something to think about for the next In a Nutshell – and I’m sure there’ll be another.

Also published in Stage Whispers magazine