Naked Stage

Sun 13th November 2011

reviews

Lucie Elven

at 23:57 on 13th Nov 2011

1agrees

1disagrees

Tonight, I was the first person to be the only student in the ADC bar (because amateurs like to travel in cavalcades?). Naked Stage is a weekly hour-and-a-half show, there billed as 'Cambridge City's'. On the programme logo, the organisers give the address of the theatre. In a similar but posher vain, as I think you're probably a student, WriteON's website may be of more use to you than this review: http://www.writeon.org.uk/aboutus.html.

The basic set up was two plays, comments, interval, two plays, comments.

The rabble were all either liberal, over forty and in couples, or horsey people who would grow into these but were still experimenting. I don't like this kind of crowd usually, but counted my chickens here. Obviously I was wrong. It was a deeply supportive environment. Whereas students are often insecure enough to keep it skimpy, the Naked Stage lot have grown into themselves enough not to realise how boring they are.

The first two plays should never, never have been put on. 'Kill', a self-proclaimed 'Huis Clos' about Trotsky waiting to be killed in Mexico, was lauded as having kept the tension, but dealt in chickenfeed, creative license and different versions of the line 'this is heestoly comlade'. The second play, `Birthday Wish' was constructed like a farce, but didn't follow through by being funny. The one actor who realised the play's comic potential - something neither the director nor the writer fully committed to - was heroic like Johnny Vegas; nevertheless, I almost left in the interval.

Then, weirdly, the second half was brilliant. 'Coup', by Elinor Perry-Smith, envisioned an iconoclastic, republican seamstress meeting her new King. It was a perfectly structured, ticking-bomb duologue in which Rachel Nielson was fantastic. 'To the Brink', by Paul Richards was as good as Amelie would be if it was set in Milton Keynes and Amelie still insisted on being as much part of her environment as she does in Paris. The director Julia Bolden made simple but clever use of office chairs and black.

As I've been to this and you haven't, I'll decide that you probably shouldn't attend for entertainment only. Maybe if you write plays and are secretive, this would be a good forum to start getting feedback. The only reason anyone should definitely go (book in advance) is if they are wanting to see plays that all have Marxist undertones, or to meet a new race of patient, equine people.

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Comments

JS JS; 22nd Nov 2011; 13:19:35

This is the sort of review that gives student reviewers a reputation as wilfully arrrogant and silly. If you must review the audience, don't make such make factual errors: I know that that were a minimum of three other Cambridge students in the (fairly diverse) audience, and a couple of us participated in the feedback. This review misses the point of what Naked Stage is for: it's a platform for writers to show scripts that are in development and to see what works and what doesn't. As an audience member, if you approach it in a similar spirit to going to the Edinburgh Fringe, you do spot some gems. It's a shame townies can't join this site or there would be some more reviews for this group.

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