Short+Sweet, Auckland’s bite-sized arts festival is back for another year! It boasts a selection of both new and emerging talent as well as returning theatre-makers who just want to have another go.
The Season 1 lineup featured a strong selection of works but it was the two single handers that stole the show for me. Slow Dating was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish; Julie Collis’ wonderfully comic and often exaggerated delivery was engaging as it was entertaining. Similarly, 93% was an excellently crafted one-man-piece with the energy of an ensemble cast. Hamish Annan thoroughly impressed with his performance, particularly the physicality in which he embodied the multiple characters he portrayed.
Being a musical fan, I was delighted there were two on the bill. Beyond Four Walls‘ song cycle format was a great concept though the overall narrative didn’t quite translate as clearly as perhaps intended. Where the piece did excel was in the music; there were some solid vocal performances by the cast and I also enjoyed the comedy that was present in the lyrics. Theatre of Love’s Match – The Beginning on the other hand had the opposite impact. While I thought the plot was absolutely brilliant and lyrically sound, the vocals were a bit rough in parts.
Other highlights for me were incidentally the two more low-key pieces of the program. Part lecture, part phone conversation, March of Progress was a clever, quite literal illustration of someone trying to juggle both his work and personal life. Thoughtfully written and performed, the narrative had a good measure of both heart and humor. Dragonflies was another solid offering with a very slice-of-life premise that had an intriguing element to it. The two actors gave subtle yet nuanced performances and though the ending may not have come to a surprise to everyone, I feel the build up to it was superbly executed and delivered with just the right amount of tension to keep the audience guessing.
There is definitely a skill to creating and presenting ten-minute-plays and the Short+Sweet Festival is the perfect opportunity to see this in action. If you want to have a taste of the New Zealand performing arts talent and like the idea of a smorgasbord of short stories, this is the ticket.
Season 1 is on for another two nights at TAPAC before Season 2 kicks off the following week. For more details and the full lineup, head on over to shortandsweet.org.nz.