REVIEW 1 A selection of raucously funny short plays was the order of the night for the Sitcom Shorts.
Mixing adult humour with regional cultural references, the Manchester Comedy Writers Group put on a top notch show.
The best of the five plays was Domestic Bliss by Roy Knowles. Fusing elements of The Royle Family with Shameless, the tale covered 18-year-old Mark’s possible fathering of 16-year-old Shelley’s baby.
And in true comical chav style, part of the drama unfolded as his family watched her on Jeremy Kyle’s TV show.
All the cast were spot on, with Zoe Iqbal was especially good as the teenage tarty temptress Shelly. She had some of the best lines, including one about her pregnant younger sister who was hoping for a ‘white baby’.
Of the other shorts, Spirit Clinic poked fun at a charlatan spiritualist who could help clients suffering from a disparate array of issues such as a problem dog and a washing machine that kept losing socks.
In between the shorts, various members of the group did five-minute stand-up
routines. The funniest moment of the night came with Nicole Gardner as Florence
the Jamaican lesbian and her hilarious gag about self-love and phone sex.
Susannah Wright (4*)
REVIEW 2 A colourful array of sitcoms were on show in the John Thaw Studio, ranging from a toilet skit to a sibling rivalry.
Sitcom Shorts did exactly what it says on the tin. For two hours the audience were treated to 15-minute sitcoms beginning with Matthew Melbourne starring in Tapas.
He gave a unique portrayal of a male chauvinist, who certainly gave the audience food for thought with his opinions on relationships.
Stuart Hudson gave a splendid performance in Double Trouble as the scatty, naïve Damien who suddenly found himself thrust into the epicentre of a family drama.
Meanwhile Anna Denise Whelan and David Tynan kept the audience enthralled with Chloe and David, a well-written and comical short.
Both John Howarth and Sharon Heywood captured each character, keeping the audience hooked with their tongue twisting dialogue and believable interpretations.
The night concluded with Domestic Bliss, a well polished piece, set in the front room of a small home, reminding me a little of ‘The Royal Family.’
Although at times Sitcom Shorts left some feeling a little uncomfortable, it
pushed the barriers of performance. You certainly had to let your inhibitions go
when setting foot into the theatre, especially when it came to the Michael
Jackson joke…too soon?Gemma Hodgson (3*)
REVIEW 3 Sitcom Shorts consisted of 5 short comedic plays written by the Manchester Comedy Writers Group.
The opening play, Tapas, by David Mitchell, explored the horrors of speed dating but was slightly too lengthy with laborious dialogue and lack of good humour.
Double Trouble by Jenny Roche was slightly more appealing with fluid dialogue and attention grabbing subject matter.
Spirit Clinic by David Bolton, about a possessed pooch, was imaginative as well as containing some comical gags.
The performance stepped up notch in the final play, Domestic Bliss by Roy Knowles, which was engaging throughout with a comical and truthful performance by Zoe Iqbal.
Between plays, and to allow for the stage to be set up, there were stand-up comedy fillers, the highlight being Nicola Gardner who played Florence, a Jamaican woman who had left her husband to become a lesbian.
Gardner had a positive rapport with the audience with a routine that had many riotous gags and produced a few belly laughs.
Overall, Sitcom Shorts, was amusing on more levels than one, and a clear achievement for this local group to be exposed in the Not Part Of Festival. There will certainly be more potential talent to appear in the future. Michelle Param (2*)
Reviewed: Tue, 14 July, 2009
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