Friday, 8 August 2014

Brief Encounter - the results

We had eight interesting entries for our BRIEF ENCOUNTER competition on 14 July 2014, our last night of term and, come to that, our last night at the Three Stags. The temptation to take David Lean’s classic film, with Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, as the starting point was hard to resist. I loved Lynne O’Sullivan’s DOUBLE CROSSINGS. It was set in a railway tea-room where Laura sits every Thursday afternoon with grit in her eye, waiting for a man, any man, to come and remove it. It got the evening off to an excellent start and finished third with 219 points. The second entry was Brian Haddon’s IS IT LOVE? In which a man dates two girls online and finds he has invited them both to the same place on the same night. Not many laughs here and not many points either (137). But at least those entries complied with the rules, whereas Andrew Eu’s TRY THIS CORNETTO over-ran by two minutes and was disqualified. A pity because his was an original kind of encounter: a girl survivor of some apocalyptic event getting nostalgic about a Cornetto icecream with an old man whose survival store she is looting. Nice performances by Miranda Keeling and Chris Prior (of course). Two other entries which strove to get away from Waterloo Station scored 165 each. One was HI MUM by Giles Armstrong, which was about the world’s most vicious assassin, played for all it was worth by Carrie Cohen, being visited in prison by Fiona McKinnon, playing a quite astonishingly cruel daughter. The other was SERENDIPITY, by Debbie Maya and Peter Vincent. It involved an encounter over a barrister’s brief (geddit?), and his embarrassing discovery that his client’s well-supported alibi was spent in his own wife’s bed. Fiat justitia, ruat caelum, as the wise old judge might well have observed. It should be added that the scripts were entitled IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE, THREE STAGS DIVISION and were delightfully presented as briefs to counsel [Thompson QC, with you Giles Armstrong of Foyles] Back now to the Waterloo entries. In fourth place we had a riveting drama/ballet/mime by Chandana Banerjee in which the predatory Phil Philmar telephones Sophie Steel at midnight and promises her £200 if she will take a taxi to the railway station and have sex with him on the platform, as he has to leave in the morning. The lovely Sophie is so eager and so sinuous [remember her from the last comp as Adam’s serpentine first wife] that I felt quite sorry to see her dumped [172 points]. In second place was Bill Gordon’s QUEEN OF THE ELEPHANTS. Holmes and Watson [or as they are sometimes known, Phil and Silas] were on a well-clued trail of a kidnapping by the Russian Circus ringmaster [Chris Prior again]. But instead of the unmasking of a hideous oligarch we were treated to the triumphant entry, on the back of an elephant, of Mrs Hudson [aka Natasha Grigorovich] in some sort of leather costume! Phil and Silas were deeply moved. So was I. The competition winner was another entry about a retail outlet on a railway station. But the irresistible Suzie Kendall was not selling rock cakes. Oh No, she was tempting Phil Philmar with erotic lingerie and her yearning to travel to the East (Epsom was mentioned). When he explained “I’m married. My life is a desert of normality” we knew we were in for a roller-coaster of Noeline imagery and overstatement. And so it was. Michael Barry’s ENCOUNTERED BRIEFLY gained him 229 points and the winner’s certificate of merit. And our casting secretaries, Suzie Kendall and Natasha Staples won our admiration yet again for organising a faultless evening’s entertainment. Peter Thompson