Ex Services and Social Club, 2 – 4 October 2008
Reviewed for the Maidenhead Advertiser, 9 October 2008
Just three short plays out of 304 could survive to the final of the Marriott Award, now in its fifth year. The finalists were chosen by a panel of 45 readers, plus judges Kenneth Branagh and Iqbal Khan.
Who had won the £500 grand prize was still a secret, but I thought the strongest piece was Fairylights by Suzy Clements, a play about the lives of two bickering sisters. The dialogue was tightly written and wickedly funny in places, and the two characters were well played by Hannah Rycraft and Nikki Laurence.
The other two finalists dealt less well with the Award’s half-hour limit. The People’s Act of Literature by Rupert Haigh, in which two Blokes in a café tried to write a play using the ketchup and pepper pot as props, felt like a short sketch that had been padded out. A surreal twist near the end made very little sense and seemed only to be there to lengthen the play.
Finally, Young Shakspeer by Andy Gittins overran to nearly twice the allowed time. This was a shame, because it was well written and thoroughly researched, and could otherwise have been a strong contender for the prize.
Written by Suzy Clements (Fairylights), Andy Gittins (Young Shakspeer) and Rupert Haigh (The People’s Act of Literature)