After years of watching some fairly pedestrian Short & Sweet offerings, this is one of the better weeks presented.
That's not to say it's all roses but at least the ordinary wasn't dire and every piece had redeeming qualities but what made this week a stand-out was that for the first time, it was actually tough to choose the top two plays because really there were at least four or five strong options. So if you've been put off going from pluck-your-eyes-out-of-their-sockets past experience but wouldn't mind revisiting and supporting the festival, this is probably the week to do it.
My pick for this week would have been 'Waiting' by Kylie Rackham and directed by Heidi Lupprian and starring Sandra Campbell and Challito Browne. Campbell was so good in this piece that she's also my pick for best actress in the entire Short & Sweet season. It was a moving account of loneliness and loss and for what is essentially a ten minute play, I was impressed with how the play encompassed such a journey. Well done to writer and all involved in the performance.
Another couple of good choices go to comedies 'The Gospel According to Bowser' and 'Richard and Rod'. Whilst the first, written by Dan Borengasser and directed by Susan Kennedy, was a fun insight into the attitudes and beliefs of our pets and the second, written by A. Patrick Nilan and directed by the performers Aaron Nilan and Alastair Buchanan, was a tongue in cheek play on the life and troubles of a penis. It seems anthropomorphism is a great choice of material and style to cover in these short vignettes and the energy of Chris Miller as Bowser made him a crowd favourite and who doesn't want to see two men dressed up as a penis? It makes a change from men just acting like one...(well not most men, of course, but I couldn't resist).
Kathryn Yuen's 'Bus Trip' was also a pleasant attempt to delve a little deeper beyond the comic in her ten minute play and Alison Albany's direction of performer Michela Carattini was especially good and Carattini gave the piece some solid acting chomps with integrity and commitment.
A few other quick mentions to Gabriella Florek in 'A Burning Ambition'- she has the makings of a confident and talented performer, 'Disposable' has a good energetic cast as does 'Count', both written by Jodi Cramond and as soon as both plays find their ending in the writing, there's a lot there to enjoy. 'Diet Dilemma' is a bit of fun and cast just need to beware of corpsing on stage so they can lift the material to match their playfulness with it.
I'd say this is your week to head along to King St Theatre and savour the taste of Short and Sweet. It's much more sweet than sour and I think this week you'll be pleasantly surprised.