Thursday, June 03, 2010

"One Million Tiny Plays About Britain" - June 2010

Okay, let's be clear about this for the benefit of anyone worried about committing the next few years of their life to watching this show from the Citizens Theatre Company. You only get to see about thirty of Craig Taylor's 'tiny plays', adapted here by Ros Philips and performed by Sushil Chudasama, Mark McDonnell and Pauline Turner over the course of around 90 minutes. But actually, that's a pity as I'd quite happily sit through another 999,970 tiny plays like these ones - although perhaps not all in one session.

We've grown accustomed to seeing cast members playing multiple characters over a short time frame but I can't ever recall seeing it done on anything like this scale, or quite so impressively as it is here. Age and sex prove no obstacle to playing roles here and the accents vary perfectly to match locations the length and breadth of Britain. When we discussed the show on the way home we realised we had no idea what the 'natural' accents of the three cast members might be. The individual plays are too short and sketchlike to allow any real depth to the characters, but I expect it will be a long time before I see performances displaying such range again.

Despite their brevity, each playlet is absolutely absorbing and perfectly captures a vignette of everyday life in modern Britain and is crafted with such care that they seem to come to a natural conclusion - never feeling too long or too short. In her role as Director, Philips ensures the plays transition seamlessly at breakneck pace separated only by snippets of audio and a digital text scroll to help to set the location. Jason Southgate's design for the Citizens Circle Studio is as creative as I've ever seen in there - with a kebab shop, a train carriage and an immigration inspector's booth located on three of the four walls, and a fantastic multipurpose central set.

A hugely entertaining and memorable evening of theatre and we hope the Citz will be looking to give us Volume II before too long.

One Million Tiny Plays About Britain runs at the Citizens Theatre until Saturday 5th June.
Image by Richard Campbell used with permission

4 Heckles

Unknown said...

Oh - interesting. I remember these tiny plays in the Guardian on Saturday. I have looked but I can't see any sign that the production might come to a theatre near me in London, unfortunately.

Statler said...

Hi Helen,
We had a look and there's no sign of any tour dates at the moment, but it's been well received so hopefully the Citizens will give it an extended life.

And it would be a perfect production for a run at the Edinburgh Fringe some time.

Helen (Citz) said...

Hi, I'm afraid there are no current plans to retour. We promise to let you know if this happens. Glad you enjoyed it!

Helen (Citz)

Unknown said...

Hello Helen from the Citizens - that's a shame.

Thanks for checking, Statler.