Irlam Festival Fringe 2015

Following the success of the first Irlam Festival Fringe in 2014, it’s back this year for two nights – 27, 28 August – in the Irlam Men’s Catholic Club, a short walk from Irlam station.  The Festival is organised by Jane McNulty, whose track record includes writing ‘A Hairline Crack’, my pick of JB Shorts 12, and who wanted to organise a professional evening of short plays in her home town.  Retaining the standard format of six, fifteen minute plays, but charging an attractive £5, how does this compare?

Certainly, it looks to have attracted a great deal of local interest, and a very different audience to similar events.  As with any set of six plays there must be a range of styles and topics to appeal to the wide cross section present, and the evening achieved this well.  There were plays I loved, and some I didn’t like as much, but it was an appreciative audience that responded well to all six plays.  What is without question is that Jane had assembled writers, directors and actors of the highest calibre.

Feeding Time at the Human House, by David Wiener, is a lovely quirky piece about baboons looking at human behaviour through their own norms. It’s well observed, touching and at times very funny, including a nice take on conspiracy theory.  The dialogue is pitched just right and the physicality, particularly from Charlie Ryan, is effective.

Raghead, by Tom Coash, was my favourite of the evening. Beautifully directed by Lucia Cox, with actors Kate Mitchell and Adam Urey creating strong, convincing characters, it takes an intelligent and sensitive look at our religious preconceptions. This one stays with you.

In the second half You Haven’t Changed a Bit, by Donna Hoke, stood out.  Two people meet at a high school reunion but who else is left?  A beautiful, poignant story about being in love with one person all your life, where they are barely aware of your existence.  Can you make amends in the end?

Overall a successful evening and a great audience.

 

 

 

 

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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