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Write Now festival

It's raining, it's pouring, but will you be snoring at the Actors Studio, Seel Street this week. No, no, they say...

Published on March 30th 2010.

Write Now festival

Write Now, as you already might know from here, is an eight day festival of eight one-act plays until Saturday 03 April at Liverpool Actors’ Studio on Seel Street.

Former Brookside writer Helen East’s Seconds Out offers one of the stand out productions with a two-hander which avoids the pitfalls of most. A piece which does not fall foul of clunky dialogue or stereotypes this piece is a crisp well structured plot

Previews last weekend allowed the press a taster of the inaugural event., We couldn't go. Personally, but here's what the organisers would like you to know it's about.

First up, and the opening show during the eight day extravaganza, is The Person Without, a well structured psychological thriller in the vein of Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter. A taut well written thriller is hard to come by in theatrical terms but this delivers in spades being far from predicable. For those wanting their theatre to exercise the grey cells this should keep you guessing til the final moments.

Eastender Angela Wynter is the festival’s ‘star turn’ in Anita Franklin’s The Dressmaker’s Gift. American-born Anita gives the festival its international flavour however the ‘art of stroytelling’ truly is global in a simple text beautifully crafted and directed by Anthony Ekundayo Lennon, last seen in Liverpool at the Everyman’s ‘Yellowman’. Dressmaker tells the tale of three generations of black American women in late 70’s New York, a story of life, love and relationships unravel in the Plaines Plough commissioned piece.

Also from outside the region, but slightly closer to home, come I’m Ed Caesar, from (Buxton) and black comedy Under My Skin (Altrincham) both offering personal dilemmas of a not to dissimilar nature.

A close investigation of morals in the world of celebrity, Ed Caesar has a neat twist in style at the midpoint, but suffers from a too-minimalist approach which impacts heavily on the direction.

The same can’t be said of Rob Johnston’s Under My Skin, a well observed piece of writing exploring the fact that ‘a crime is only a crime if you get caught’; well written, beautifully staged with some finely drawn characters in the bijou Actors’ Studio.

Former Brookside writer Helen East’s Seconds Out offers one of the stand out productions with a two-hander which avoids the pitfalls of most. A piece which does not fall foul of clunky dialogue or stereotypes this piece is a crisp well structured plot with wonderful performances from Drew Hancock and Andrew Madden as boxer Danny, a certain medal contender, who realises that boxing is not for him but has to explain why to his hard-done-to trainer.

But what is a Liverpool festival without a locally written play? Well, Write Now has three and the trio could not be more different.

If you bring together a Liverpool fan and a Bluenose, ask them to emulate Dr Victor Frankenstein’s re-animation experiment, but with a Guy Fawkes dummy you get the hilariously maniacal farce The Guy’s A Monster. Trust me, it’s about as daft as you can get but immensely enjoyable with enough energy to power a small city. Perhaps a tad too manic in places the piece never lets the audience catch its breath.

In complete contrast is the black comedy Heart. James Stewart’s dark journey of discovery is a stylised hard-hitting 40 minutes of social commentary; a true exploration of how to ‘find oneself’ with great performances from Twoppence to Cross The Mersey’s Emma Grace Arends, Chris Hitchins and Michael Idris. A physical theatre piece which is well directed but five minutes too short.

And completing the trio of ‘Liverpudlian involvement’ is the simple yet beautiful storytelling of Pippin Hal, a coming-of-age tale about a guardian angel. The piece is a delight. Straight from the Royal Court’s Our Day Out, Kelly Forshaw plays Debs, girlfriend of Craig Sharkey’s Pippin both of whom are ably supported by Tom Oulton (Benny) and Mary Fortune (Mam). A heart-warming piece and great choice as a festival closer. Don’t miss it.

That Liverpool, has never had a one act play festival comes as quite a surprise, that Write Now is here to stay will be based upon the successes of the eight.

If even one can follow in the footsteps of this years revelation, Olivier Award winner for Best New Play, Katori Hall's The Mountaintop, first staged at the sixty-seat Theatre 503, the tiny pub theatre in Battersea, before transferring to the Trafalgar Studios, then the future could be full of more surprises.

Write Now runs between Friday 26 March and Saturday 03 April 2010 at Liverpool’s Actors’ Studio, Seel Street, Liverpool L1.

Performance schedule available to download here.

Tickets £8 / £6 concessions available at www.writenowfestival.co.uk or 0151 709 3789

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Larry LovellMarch 30th 2010.

At what number in Seel Street? It's a very long street!

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