Saturday, July 10, 2010

Miniaturists 24 (somewhat belated)

This took place a couple of weeks back now and I really honestly did mean to write about it the following week, but then a friend came to stay and I had some other worky things to attend to and, oh, I don't know, stuff just happened, and somehow suddenly it is midway through July and I feel that if I don't write down some brief words now then it will drift from my head altogether.

This was the third Miniaturists I'd attended at the Arcola and, of those, probably the strongest line-up to date. Of the five short pieces on the bill, there were three that really stood out. Smile, by Simon Treves, was a wonderful exercise in unease set in a prison that managed to be both very funny and incredibly tense, sometimes simultaneously.

Helen Smith's The Memory Man, a short play about a medium, was the most ambitious piece and the one that had the most potential to be built on and extended into something longer. It had an intriguing symmetry, was full of lovely lines and details and managed to remind me of many things that I've read and seen and enjoyed while also having its own distinctive voice - plus it's always exciting and gratifying when someone you know and like produces something you find yourself really enjoying and admiring.

The final piece. Postfeminism, by Samantha Ellis (who also wrote the well-received Cling to Me Like Ivy) was a lovely example of romantic comedy writing. Witty and clever and genuinely touching, it managed to convey the whole journey of a relationship in a very short space of time. It also contained a properly groan-inducing pun of the very best kind.

All the pieces were incredibly well performed by casts whose rehearsal time was limited to say the least and the whole experience made all the various grapplings with public transport it required to get there more than worth it. The West End Whingers do the thing more justice over here.


Helen Smith said...

Natasha - thanks for coming to Miniaturists 24. It was kind of you to write it up.

It's such a joy to be involved with The Miniaturists - we always get such brilliant performers and directors to work with.

Samantha Ellis said...

Thanks for reviewing my piece. So glad you liked it.