Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Will You Marry Me? The Review

Here is Peter Thompson's report on our Spring Competition from 25 March 2013:

"Our writers were inspired by the title of our Spring competition and we had 10 entries to play off at the Three Stags on Monday 25 March 2013, with lots of new names among the authors and the cast. Madeline Temple’s neat little play FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE unfortunately over-ran due to the inclusion of a superfluous final scene and had to be disqualified. In ninth place, however, with 173 points, was John Coleman’s play about a missing mobile phone, called I’VE LOST IT: the high point was when Max Warrick got down on one knee to make a proposal of marriage with the ring-pull from his beer-can. Just above, with 190 points, was a serious play by Cyd Casados, THE TRENCH, about a WW1 infantryman struggling with a love letter home to a girl in Blighty, unaware of the stronger passion felt for him by his comrade in the dugout.

In seventh place was an extraordinary play about a young man out driving with a girl who has rhinocerine tusks. He runs into a roadblock where the girl is stripped and very nearly flogged to death but then continues her journey to the land of the free, by avoiding the turning for Devizes “where jugs are made”, the title of the play. OK, so I lost the plot, woven together, as you will have guessed, by Giles Armstrong.

Peter Vincent as usual gave us the best title of the evening THE DALMATION OF FAUST and it was good to see Christopher Prior back again, this time as Mephistopheles: proposals of marriage were much in evidence, but there was a complete absence of spotted dogs, putting this entry in sixth place with 206 points. Above that were two plays with challenging accents. SHIPS IN A HARBOUR, by Max Warrick had a French girl, deliciously played by Jenni Hall, agreeing to spent ze night with Dean Ekperigin but “nuzzing eez going to appen”. Well she was wrong about that, but Dean found the next day that he had had to trade in a promise of an early wedding. Zut alors and 208 points. And 8 points above, in fifth place, was a play by Debbie Maya featuring Denise O’Leary and Tim Gambrell as Australian actors raiding the Barry McKenzie phrasebook in their efforts to portray Elizabeth and Mr Darcy. The whole play was well summarised in the title PRIDE AND STRINE.

Bill Gordon’s Delphic title CONSORT WITH HUMOUR turned out to be another Holmes and Watson adventure, this time including the young Queen Vic, an irresistible performance by Hannah Mercer, who kept on fainting in order to receive the good doctor’s “standard treatment for shock” which fell short of an offer of marriage, but not by much: 225 points. First and second places went to newcomers. POPPING THE QUESTION by Rob Fearn and Cheryl Freedman scored 229 points for the sad tale of a shy but besotted old man, Richard Evans, who was schooled in how to propose to the girl in Starbucks only to have her rejection of him recorded on camera and sent round the Internet. But the clear winner was Michael Barry’s THE PERFECT SETTING in which Hannah Mercer found implausible reasons for rejecting marriage offers in all the most romantic locations in the world. Her recurring change of mood was a treat to watch, although many men in the audience were wondering whether she really was worth rescuing from that volcano. Way out in front with 282 and Barry wasn’t even there to give it 10!

There are still 2 more Marry Me plays to be performed on 17 June, because Natasha Staples had already received the maximum complement before they arrived. The organisation of 10 back-to-back plays in a single evening is no mean feat and Natasha did it with no apparent effort at all. What a girl. Many thanks to her and to all who took part in a most entertaining evening."

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