‘A ticket for one please’ said I, with a devil-may-care, jaunty attitude. It was 7.25. The show was not starting until 7.45. I had oodles of time.
‘Sorry sir, I have just sold the last ticket.’
I was horrified. Not only was the show sold out, but I had been addressed as ‘Sir’ by the youth at the counter. I am not a ‘sir’. I am young, fresh, vibrant and vivacious – in my own head at least.
‘If you’d like to come back at 7.40, I’ll see if I can squeeze you in’.
I was at the Smock Alley Theatre (the oldest in the land, having first opened its doors in 1662) for some opening shows of the Scene and Heard 2019 Festival. This festival is an annual event which showcases tasters of original theatre; double bills of works in progress, which is a useful means of allowing writers test new material before an audience.
Different shows are paired together and you can see both for the lovely price of a tenner.
My desired viewing were the shows ‘140 characters’ by Firefly Theatre and ‘Dog Boy’ by Ainmhi Productions.
At 7.47 the ticketmaster told me there was space. Into the Boys School (one of the theatre spaces in Smock Alley) I trotted.
‘140 Characters’ had already started as I slunk in at the back. It is a one man show that explores the online world and the positive and negative consequences on those who dedicate their lives to it. Approximately twenty minute long, it stars Conall Molloy and is written and directed by Scott Leeson. Molloy gives an impressively energetic performance of a very dense script. It was an interesting and somewhat challenging work, as I struggled on occasion with the frenetic pace. Overall it a good experience and I’d be interested to see how it develops.
This was immediately followed by ‘Dog Boy’ which was written and directed by Jason Coburn. It stars Pamela Flanagan as Henrietta Rabbite and Conor Marren as Eddy Glass. Henrietta is a troubled young woman who lives in a fantasy world in the woods. Dressed in dog costume, she believes that she is living in the Big Brother house, and imagines that she is being spoken to by the voice of Dog Boy – a fictional cartoon character from her childhood. The creator of said character – Eddy Glass – has been sent to rescue her. He is skeptical, at first, but is Henrietta as mad as she seems? She has a strangely perceptive insight into his life. I won’t reveal too much of the plot so as not to spoil it. It is a surreal, black comedy with strong performances by the two actors, and a clever and witty script, and an effective but simple set. I enjoyed it and think it is well worth seeing.
These shows have one more performance tonight at Smock Alley Theatre. The festival runs until March 2nd. Book your tickets to avoid loitering at the ticket desk in the hope of gaining admittance.