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Watford Observer - May 20th 2005

Refreshing show is something new

Bits And Pieces
Full Circle Theatre Company

In their latest showcase - a collection of six short plays titled Bits and Pieces - the Full Circle Theatre company proved they`re certainly the leaders when it comes to locally produced innovative drama. Professional and slick in its composition, the performance at Harrow Arts Centre`s Travellers Studio on Saturday, May 13, introduced the audience to a range of work by up and coming playwrights and was a welcome break from the standard three act play that tends to dominate the amateur stage. Introducing the show and providing a thread of continuity between the individual pieces were the comic duo Rob Smith and Damian Smyth. The pair used skit and improvisation - two techniques that require heaps of confidence and verve - to good effect throughout the evening, despite a lack of audience participation.
The strongest play all round was When Is A Door Not a Door. Imaginatively staged, with the door acting as both repellent and magnet, the play was carried by the brilliant Karen Summers, whose intense performances are becoming known for their spine-tingling intensity. Kempster`s fast paced dialogue provided a good buffer and kept the tempo at just the right speed.
Judith Caffrey was another stand out actress, particularly in her role as a messed-up gangster`s daughter in The Exchange. She steered her character in the right direction, making the final dramatic swing seem both shocking and startlingly natural at the same time. The cleverly staged duologue, I Met This Girl, featuring Nigel Taylor`s wonderfully sleazy comic timing, used silhoutted figures to illustrate the story`s events and was a great technique for breaking up the he said/ she said format. It would have worked better had the actor`s characteristics, as well as their outlines, not been visible. Paper Angels - a play that sought to personalise September 11 - used gestures to create a dark and poignant atmosphere.
This is more than can be said for Transfigured Night, a play that tried to deal with a very dark subject but lacked atmosphere entirely. Would it ever be possible to pull off a depiction of adults in constant childhood regression without seeming slightly ludicrous?
Life with Jamie, featuring Barbara Wright`s suitable dreamy Rebecca and Noel Harte`s wonderfully elastic Jamie, provided a light-hearted end to what was in conclusion truly refreshing dramatic experience akin to a gulp of fresh air.

Yvonne Harvey

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