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REVIEW: Pint-sized plays remind theatre lovers as to what they’re missing

Twyford and Ruscombe Theatre Group
Five Pints and a Pig co-directors Gavin and Jocelyn Robinson

A theatre group provided two “outings” to enjoy funny and inventive plays – a rare treat in these Covid-19 times.

Twyford and Ruscombe Theatre Group staged six short plays under the intriguing banner Five Pints and a Pig.

It was their way of keeping drama going while the virus makes usual performances
at Loddon Hall, Twyford, impossible. 

The final three audio plays were enjoyed last weekend. The first three were last month. Both releases each attracted more than 100 listeners.

Jocelyn Robinson, directed four of the plays and her husband Gavin the other two.

They did fantastic work in the unusual and difficult conditions. The plays were rehearsed online on Zoom before the actors recorded their parts at home.

“Directing these plays has been challenging at times with the variety of acoustics and sound effects and ensuring that the audience is able to follow the story without visual aids,” says Jocelyn.

“One thing that I have found very strange is that, by the time you get to the week before “curtain up”, it is all complete – there is no motivational speech-making, no “go on stage and sock it to ‘em”.

The actors’ recordings were sent to sound expert David Goddard who knitted them together for flowing plays.  

“We have all collaborated to overcome the challenges such as the slightly different audio recording characteristics of [phones]; internet delays and drop-outs; the actors’ room acoustics; … and the odd domestic background noise,” says David.

His sound effects swept the audience to each play’s “set” whether it was in the buzz of a pub or the drama of freefalling from a plane.

Last weekend’s Menage a Trois by David Evans had nicely delivered plot twists as husband Tim, played by Ian MacDonald; wife Jane, Jo Davis; and instructor Rex, Michael Higgins, made a parachute jump.

Twyford
The poster for Five Pints and a Pig

In Thirty Love, by Dorothy Lambert, Emma Cianchi as Kate and Mike Brooks as Nick had the audience questioning: “Will they, won’t they?” and portrayed great swings of emotion.

Once more unto the breach, dear Vernon by Mark Waghorn, meant a large cast.

Marc Reid as Vernon was beguiling, confiding his hopes of being a Shakespearean actor and leading us through the play.

He and his fellow actors Gavin Robinson, Hazel Evans, Michael Higgins, Jane Rhodes, Ian MacDonald, Sally Castle, Jocelyn Robinson and Isobel Buck gave us vivid impressions of the many different scenes.

Before Christmas the theatre group released three other short plays.

Two teenage actors starred in An Awesome Award by Nicholas Richards. Lucy Wright was splendidly carried away as the award winner. Isobel Buck did good work as the compere. And we found out about the pig in Five Pints and a Pig.

This play was by arrangement with Lazy Bee Scripts. The five others were with Pint-Sized Plays.

In Chilled Wine, by Dorothy Lambert, Caroline Rose-Newport, Elysia Robinson and Sally Castle were funny with their gossipy pub chat. The twist at the end worked well.

Kathleen Shaw and Frank Kaye in The Lady and ‘The Tyger’ gave us an unsettling and intriguing look at a chance meeting in a seafront shelter.

You wanted to know what happened later.

For more details, log on to twyrusdrama.org.uk

SUE CORCORAN

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