She might you know

Keen observers may by now have realised that this website is often little more than a vehicle through which I can exercise my right to show off and be silly. Sometimes, however, I can use it to talk about occasions when others have taken time out from their busy lives to show off and be silly. Last night was one of those occasions.

The event was called Pilot and it was at the Custard Factory and it was organised by The B-Theatre. It consisted of six short pieces by both established and not so established companies, and I liked it very much. At various points in the evening I tried to establish a consensus that the best word to sum up the performances was “spunky”, though this consistently failed to generate any conversational traction, either as an appropriate word to sum up the performances, or as a funny thing to say. It was just me being silly and showing off again, it seems.

The performances, I thought, were never less than “quite good” or “interesting”, and one or two were even “actually really very nice”, which is no mean feat in an evening which is explicitly justifying itself as a sharing event for works in progress. So, here goes:

This is for Tim Henman Search Party

They came all the way from Exeter to show us “Pete” (not me, a different “Pete” – I know it’s confusing) trying to do the hula hoop for ten seconds. Of course the theatrical frame is all important here and it was done extremely well. Some Forced Entertainment style text, but when done properly there’s no harm in that. Actually really very nice. I want to see more of their stuff.

Cargo The Plasticine Men

This is a collaboration between the compere/organiser Simon Day (not the famous one, another one) and the brothers Gunter aka Spanner, and it was adeptly performed energetic physical theatre with humour. It worked well as a – what – 15 minute? – sketch, but would require some clever pacing and structuring for it to succeed as a full length piece.

Teg Jake Oldershaw

So it says, although the full credits according to the programme are “adapted by Lee Beagley, directed by Jake Oldershaw and Jo Carr and performed by Ffion Williams”. Again a short sketch of something that might get enlarged. Jake is a friend of mine, and I’ve never seen any of his work that wasn’t pretty much on the money, with a good ear for what performance ought to be all about. This was no different, with witty use of back projection and some good proper acting from Ms Williams.

In my Father’s house Kindle Theatre

There were mixed opinions about this one, but I found it quite amusing. I would describe it as “spunky”. Four women dressed in old fashioned posh clothes are advertising some event they are holding at a church hall or something. One of them starts explaining how to make a pudding, one is playing the accordian, another is drinking quite heavily. They all do a big hokey-cokey twice. If this was a trailer for their full length piece, then I’m not sure what to make of it. As a one-off performance curiosity I thought it was quite nice.

Don’t Make Me Say This Talking Birds

Directed by my dear dear friend Nick Walker and performed by Jim Low and a female performer drafted in so close to the wire that she didn’t even make it into the programme [but you can find out her name by reading the comments]. I have no idea what was going on here, but I think the people who made it were one step ahead at least, and it was great. Typical Walker/Birds blend of humour and off-beat something or other.

Please Forgive Me Augusto Corrieri

Ten people who may or may not have ever met before learn simple movements by watching an instructional video on You Tube, then get together for a couple of hours the day before to make sure they are all on the right continent. This was interesting, and at times it was very nice – in particular the chorus line finale Bryan Adams number – and at times exactly what you might expect from ten people doing warm up exercises. Again, as a short sketch, great. It is apparently episode two of Continuous Project, a series of meta dance/performance pieces conceived and choreographed by Augusto Corrieri. OK, keep it up fella.

The evening was also neatly compered by (the still non-famous) Simon Day, and Manos Puestas provided the splendid musical interludes. There was plenty of time during the two short intervals and afterwards to mingle and feed back.