Review – Village Pub Theatre Twitter Special

May 11, 2013 | By More

Expectations exceeded

village Pub Theatre home baking Thom Dibdin

All this and home baking too? #Nom #Nom. Photo © Thom Dibdin

Village Pub, South Fort Street
Friday 10 May 2013
Review by Thom Dibdin

The record books might not have been bothered at the Village Pub Theatre’s twitter special when only 30 or so of the possible 170 play-in-a-tweets were performed, but the ones which were staged certainly left the audience wanting more.

The problem for anyone expecting the tweet plays to come in significantly large numbers was that the scratch night had already organised a handful of one-act plays on the twitter theme. And, to be honest, they were simply too good to drop.

Allan Gordon presented a snatch from work-in-progress Buffers, about a 23 year-old lad moved back home from university. Gordon had his protagonist interacting through the voices of his face-book style computer. An interaction moderated through an ironic layer of language so flowered in its verbosity as to resemble the archaic deference of a valet to his Knight in Monty Python.

Here, status updates and private messages hinted at the reality of excessive life the lad was engaging in, while his responses brought outer a deeper understanding of him. Andy Rothney was suitably post-indulgent as the lad, with Kim Gerard brilliant as the snide voice.

Gerard returned for a solo stint in Morna Pearson’s Walking on Walls, a piece which pricked the preconceptions nicely as the office nerd took off her specs and turned into a vigilante @Super_Helpful_Person with a wild twitter following.

These are small works, not necessarily complete, and James Ley’s Eat Shit & Die was perhaps the least ready of the pieces. In his tale of a couple caught at the edge of the forest there was definitely an edge – but it didn’t quite work, partly because the complexity demanded a slight change in the pace of the performance, and partly because the internal rhythm of the writing wasn’t quite there yet.

Leading up to the ultimate status update

Clare Duffy’s Feck Full Followers suffered a very different problem, as Keith MacPherson encapsulated a failed, sacked banker, positing that going psycho was the only way forward. A brilliant, tight piece of writing it just needed MacPherson to be able to physically let go of the script for the piece to fly. But then that’s the nature of rehearsed readings and scratch nights – and if he didn’t get as close to the full-rush of mania as he might, he got right up there amongst it.

The great thing about using social media in a theatrical vein is its ability to show an ironically duplicitous side of a personality through facebook status and tweets. Sophie Good has got that perfectly in #nom, which follows a couple’s accidental engagement and falling into a marriage which neither really want

The tragedy is bolstered by their own false interpretation of their own actions, the bravado of tweets that are not just parsimonious with the truth but which are downright deceptive. Leading up to the ultimate status update, the one which has been around rather longer than social media, as they get to the alter and say “I do”.

Against such subtlety and ability to develop a theme, the 140 character plays – 136 if you knock off the characters needed for the #vpt hashtag – should have stood little chance. And certainly not all were great. But having been looking at them over the last couple of days and becoming familiar with some of the most re-tweeted, it was astonishing quite how much they improved when lifted from the page.

Thanks to excellent performances all round from Kim Gerard, Keith MacPherson and Andy Rothney – under sure-footed direction from Caitlin Skinner – there was a depth and sense of space that you never quite get when reading them online.

All that, with hashtag brownies and twittering biscuits too. And beer. You couldn’t really ask for better.

The twitter plays can be seen by searching twitter for the hashtag #vpt. Village Pub Theatre’s twitter handle is @pubtheatre and its Facebook page is at Facebook.com/pubtheatre

Village Pub Theatre will be returning as part of the Leith Festival on June 8,11,12,13,14 & 15, when one of the night is expected to feature all 170 original  tweets and the other nights will be used to look back over the last year of Village Pub Theatre.
Further details through twitter and facebook.

Running time 1 hour 40 minutes.
Village Pub, 16 South Fort Street, Leith, EH6 4DN

Run ended.

ENDS

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Comments (1)

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  1. Iain1949 says:

    A great night with lovely tweet-plays. The longer plays were thought provoking and very well acted. Everything was extremely well Directed. A fine evening – more please.