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Arcola Theatre, London

The Miniaturists is a group of playwrights that organise writer-led events of short but fully-staged plays – no longer than 20 mins each. Every show includes five plays, a diverse and unpredictable mix that keeps the audience guessing.

In Miniaturists 53, Tales from the Crypt meet Britain’s Got Talent meet Pulling for Dummies in the 21st Century.

Fixing it is the darkly funny monologue of a gravedigger on theology, science, eternal damnation and…ornithology. Match on the other hand dissects internet dating, satirising at the same time the neuroses of the young, successful and self-absorbed. Bhai-zone continues with the dating scene and presents an alternative – not necessarily successful, though – approach to fighting youth extremism. Compassionate entrepreneurship meets the hormonally challenged. Ashes of Roses is a touching and witty monologue of a reality show wannabe participant. A crossroads, where loneliness and vanity meet. Finally, Fly Boy is the story of a boy that can fly and a girl that can become invisible.

All plays were acted on a bare set, with almost non-existent props; a chair here and there and maybe a glass or scull or two. Each play had its own distinct character and the overall mix left the audience well-entertained with an overall feeling of an evening well-spent, despite the limitations the short duration of each piece imposed on the depth of the characters and the intricacy of the plot.

Match, Bhai-zone and Ashes of Roses were the ones that stayed with me. The first, for its detailed and funny depiction of internet-dating and all the feelings and insecurities of the potential couple as well as appropriately prim and proper acting. The second for the quirky storyline and the effortlessly funny characters. And Ashes of Roses, for the wit, self-deprecation and heart-breaking loneliness of the heroine.

Five sketches from writers with potential. Definitely looking forward to Miniaturists 54 on 15th November again at the Arcola Theatre.

  • Short Plays
  • By Stewart Pringle, Joe Harbot, Vinay Patel, Catherine Harvey, Will Bourdillon
  • Directed by: David Mercatali, Hannah Banister, Bobby Brook, Erica Miller, Abigail Pickard Price
  • Cast: Tom Richards, Theo Cowan, Francesca Bailey, Adam Loxley, Ali Zaidi, Shahnewaz Jake, Catherine Harvey and Charlie Haskins
  • Arcola Theatre, London
  • 27 September 2015
  • Review by Katerina Yannouli
  • 28 September 2015

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