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Flash Festival: Part Five - No Longer Mine at Looking Glass Theatre, & Tell Me at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

No Longer Mine was my first solo performance that I was to see at the Flash festival and Lucy House's Sole House production was a very powerful and interesting performance. Subject matter was once again tough, this time mental illness and its effect on family and carers.

In a powerful performance in a very compact corner of the Looking Glass Theatre, Lucy played three distinct characters, two daughters and their mother. The older daughter, the sufferer of the illness.

This was one of the simpler tech plays as this was to be the most purely acted play I had seen to this point with none of the dynamic physical movement heavily at play elsewhere or the glossy video and sound work (no bad thing as it was a nice change to get back to just solid acting performance).

The set was simple and clear, with three distinct areas in use, a table, a sofa and the place where we began, just an area of floor, where Lucy just sits.

Through a collection of just very simple costume changes Lucy portrays the three family members clearly and distinctly. Its true to say that this illness has never had an impact on my life through family or close friends, but for me No Longer Mine was a very strong play, very well performed that made the effect on those quite a bit clearer.

The ending of the letter being read by the father with just the physical emotions played out was bold and a very suitable ending to a well researched play.

*

Tell Me from Hard Knock Theatre was, if I am correct, the only piece of the week that was a pre-written play (apologies if this is incorrect) by a third party. Therefore it was going to have to be stronger in the acting and production stakes and for the most part in this it was very successful.

The play tells the story of two prisoners ahead of a review of their mental state.

Once again when the audience entered the cast were already on stage and this has been an impressive thing on many occasions during the Flash Festival week. This time the two actors were in a waiting room preparing for their meeting with their psychologist for their prisoner review.

The two actors in question were Harry Bradbury and Richard Harley, who I had seen previous in Animal Farm (Review here) and had been impressed, particularly Harley. And in Tell Me, neither were a disappointment as this was a very well performed play. Once again for me Harley was the pick of the two with his twitchy, sniffy character.

For the play, the two actors were also joined on stage by the clearly very talented (one to very much watch) first year student Suzy Cassels. For me during the performance she very much held her own with Bradbury and Harley and played her part to perfection.

While the actors were on stage, this was a very funny, very fascinating play. Unfortunately the actors left the stage before the end and the play ended on an interminably long pre-recorded collection of video footage of interviews. This was a great shame, as if this final piece had been some minutes shorter, this would have felt at the end a much better play than you perhaps left feeling it was. A great shame, as for the most part, it was at times a very funny and quality production.


No Longer Mine was on at the Looking Glass Theatre.


Tell Me was on at the Royal & Derngate (Underground).

The Flash Festival has now concluded for 2014, but the website is still active at http://flashtheatrefestival.wix.com/flashtheatrefestival

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