This WordPlay marks the last in this season’s line up, and the standard of these evenings continues to be high. The members of OnSet Productions’ energy and enthusiasm brings different works of new writing to life.

The first play we were treated to was To Sleep by Matt Fox; a darkly humours look into the stories of two very different characters who are brought together by the agreement of a suicide pact. This is a great piece of writing which uses incredibly vivid and harrowing storytelling mixed with sharp and witty duologues between the two characters. Second was The Crown by Samantha Coughlan, which also used storytelling (in the form of an expositional monologue to the audience) contrasted with action packed flash backs. This play followed a daughter telling her memories of her mother, with scenes depicting the mother in her punky, rebellious youth. The punk theme was very clear throughout, however, the stage directions and setting directions were very complicated and will probably have more impact when the show is performed fully.

The third play, The Box Room by Vicki Watson, looked at the life of young woman and her need to control and organise everything in it as she does in her box room of neatly ordered files. This extract was a good taste of the play as whole, but I’d love to see the storyline played out. Lastly, from Roy Proctor (a regular contributor to the WordPlay events) was The Drinking Game. Telling the story of a bachelor looking for a wife from a matchmaker, but with many drinks causing many twists and turns along the way!

As always OnSet Productions’ cast is a strong one, taking on these interesting and eclectic texts with focus and energy. They all work well together, with particular onstage chemistry between Dominic Hughes and Marianne Ratcliffe as Lyubov and Nikolay in The Drinking Game. Their character choices are strong, and they do not shy away from creating tension and atmosphere even in a rehearsed reading. There were some particularly tense moments in the monologues in To Sleep, which Jack Cottrell as Martin and Nicola Robinson- Smith as Hayley, performed very truthfully and raw.

As ever, I highly recommend these evenings for people who want to experience new writing in its beginnings. Though what is really exciting for all audience members of whatever taste is the chance to see some very different stories and performances all in one night!


Charlotte Claydon