Significant Other

Oldham Coliseum’s First Break appears to have been invigorated by the arrival of Associate Director Chris Lawson, with a renewed focus on new writing.  Following Friday’s Untold Stories – four newly written plays featuring local stories – Saturday sees more new work in the form of ‘Significant Other’.

The first Northern outing for London based Pensive Federation who seek to find ‘the magic in the mundane, the extraordinary in the everyday’, this showcase of short plays sees ten writers and ten directors each create a ten minute performance, with only ten days to do it in.  The theme reflects the evening’s title, each story written around the ‘significant other’.  Performed in the Studio, each features two actors.

Sticking to a close remit means that the whole evening has a consistency and pace that similar events sometimes lack.  You are able to get into the themes, and the whole event has a feel of ten scenes happening around the same place and the same time, but to different people.  The writing is generally of high quality, although a couple of the pieces took too long to get going.  There is a lovely mix of stories and some impressive acting to create fascinating characters.  Directors generally use the space well, although it’s not a venue for performing sat on the floor.

As with all showcases for new drama, everyone will have their personal favourites.  But I loved the performances of ‘engaged’ (Sophie Poulston) about a woman going to Turkey to marry a man she met online, ‘3rd Wheel’ (Rebecca Levick), charting the fall-out from an office relationship and ‘Hook-up’ (Conor Carroll).  What I think is impressive about this event is that any of the plays could have been your favourite, depending on your own experiences and preferences.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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