They may be modern, but there is nothing heretical about these three plays. Only the third one really stands out as something to watch out for.
Tonight is a rehearsed reading of three plays commissioned for the 450th anniversary of Marlowe’s birth. The emerging writers were given the theme of modern heresies, Marlowe having been a controversial playwright himself. Instead, we have two dramas about marriage (About Bhutan and Just Impediment) and one about a group of men faced with a moral dilemma when they find a stash of drugs (My Day Off). Not as provocative as you’d expect.
About Bhutan ☆☆☆
If we ignore the fact that theme is nowhere to be found, this is a fairly average family drama. A couple try to support their son as his marriage breaks down, meanwhile trying to deal with their own stale relationship. The crisis of the plot hinges on a very unlikely coincidence, and the ending is rushed. The rehearsed reading clearly hasn’t been rehearsed much, and the actor’s stilted delivery lets down the otherwise amusing script.
Just Impediment ☆☆
This depressing play follows two former lovers reunited at a funeral, and is as much fun as attending one. The ‘heresy’ seems to be a man standing up his fiancé on their wedding night and the characters are clichéd; she wanted marriage and children, he won’t commit. Nothing contemporary about that. There are some effective flashback scenes and the acting is good, but neither of these can save the dire storyline.
My Day Off☆☆☆☆☆
Nistor’s foulmouthed new comedy is packed with witty jokes and shifting social dynamics. Three men have their friendship put to the test when they discover a stash of drugs while re-plastering the kitchen wall. The twists keep coming and the actors (Ryan Hill, Steven M J Laverty and Oliver Dawson) are hilarious, getting the comic timing spot on. This play deserves a bigger stage.
- Three plays by Diana Turner, Charles Orrell and Mike Nistor
- Directors: Paul Ainsworth and Grace Irvine
- Cast includes: The Marlowe Senior Company and The Marlowe People’s Company
- The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
- Until 2nd August 2014
- Time: 20.00 Running time: 1hr and 50mins (each play is 30 minutes)
- Review by S. A. McCracken
- 1 August 2014