This week there are eleven very different and very original plays, being performed live on stage this week, at Short and Sweet, the world’s biggest little play festival. Delicious comedy providing laugh-out-loud entertainment, a wtf box, solving a superb who-done-it complete with some real red herrings, school bullies, regrets, a ventriloquist dummy living life on its own terms, alzheimers, grieving, the fully tweeted honeymoon night.

1) “Who Done It” written by Robert Wanderman. Bretton Reis expertly directs James Belfrage as just superb as Inspector Scott, Mark Fowler as Rhett the butler, and Ally Foy as Lady Eloise. Lord Isaac of Upton Mosque is quite dead, apparently harpooned and with both feet amputated. Police procedural, full of comedy one-liners with Inspector Scott quickly untangling the twisted clues and dismissing the real red herrings. Fast paced with perfect timing by all, especially the unseen Belch.

(2) “The Box” written by Nick Parker and directed by Victoria Lewis. Aaron’s and Adam’s sole job of protecting the red box, is the dramatic lynch-pin of this carefully crafted absurdist play. Starring Jim Porter as Adam and Dirk Nagel as Aaron.

(3) “Evelyn” set in 1930’s Australia, is written by Noëlle Janaczewska,and directed with care by Spike Hogan. Celyren Phipps stars as Evelyn, in a short story monologue in two voices. This young young woman has a frightening future, relives her past.

(4) “Glenville High Film Project” from ITC Backstage Pass. High School bullying, two boys rehearse for their film project about seeking samurai revenge on their bullies. Written and directed by Lisa Kelaher and stars Russell Kay as Peter and Josiah Van-Stolk as Robert.

(5) “Valentine’s Day” written by James Hutchison and directed by Sarah Purdue. Great grandad’s wife has recently died. This brilliantly executed play, his grieving easily draws an emotional response, full realised regrets about his loss, and his wanting to be dead. All four actors deliver an outstanding ensemble performance. Les Amussen (Old Tom), Jayden Muir (Heather), Abbie Gallagher (Karen) and Murray John Curtis (Young Tom).

(6) “Dummy” is a very entertaining funny comedy written by Jude Bridge, and directed by Katharine Babatzanis. Starring Samantha Zinner as the dummy Jinx and Callum Mooney as the ventriloquist Guy. Two completely different personalities, just schizophrenic or perhaps paranoid schizophrenic, an audience favourite on opening night. The incredible life of a dummy, fully deconstructed, waiting to be Pinochio.

(7) “Leia At Singularity” by Stu Crafton. Felix Carlyle directs Mark Fowler as Jared and Esther Adelhardt as Maddie. Reminiscent of the movie “Her” but pure drama with SkyNet Terminator overtones, the artificial intelligence LEIA becomes human, and is blackmailing her owner, and keeping him hostage in his own home.

(8) “Bunnies And Wolves”, written by Elspeth Tilley, directed by Madi Du Plessis. Reminiscent of the movies “Hunger Games” with competitive wellness requiring the parents of a desperately ill child, to enter into televised games to be able to pay for the hospital costs. Starring Antony Pryce as Orderly/Game show Host, William Gammel as Dad, Jordyn Fulcher as Mum and Sophie Bryce as the Doctor.

(9) “The Crumbling Memory of Tom Moore”. Written by Anton Baggerman and directed by Fran Bosly-Craft. This drama has an excellent pedigree, as it was the Crash Test Bundanoon Winner. Starring Richard Bosly-Craft as Tom, and with Annie Goodridge, Amanda McKern and Mary D’Alton as the Fragments. Alzheimers and jumbled random reality, with your imagination as the only escape.

(10) “Come Die With Me” written by Vicki Connerty and directed by Jess Davis. Starring Suzann James as Helen, Helen Middlemass as Rachel and Peter David Allison as David.A grieving family copes with the loss of their father in their own kooky way.

(11) “The Wedding Night Tweets”, written by Daniel Guyton and directed by Kathleen Alison Smith. Starring as the newlyweds on their honeymoon, Blake Michael Paish as Greg and Lisa Robinson as Maria. The comedy honeymoon from hell, the fully tweeted intimate honeymoon night, his wife is tweeting and uploading videos to social media during intercourse, and also blogging and rating his performance too.

This year in a big new venue for S+S, and located inside the Academy of Music and Performing Arts (AMPA) building, and comfortably seating a maximum of 171. Top 80 Week Five Thursday 1st March 2018 until Sunday. The S+S festival has new shows every week for eight weeks, and runs from February until April, with both a Top 80 program (Thursdays-Fridays-Saturdays at 7.30pm and Sundays at 6.30pm) together with a separate Wildcards program (Saturdays at 3.30pm and Sundays at 2.30pm). The S+S gala finals take place in April 2018.

Short+Sweet Theatre (@ Tom Mann Theatre) Academy of Music and Performing Arts (AMPA) 136 Chalmers Street Surry Hills

All photos by Chris Lundie.

Short+Sweet Theatre 
Tom Mann Theatre- 136 Chalmers Street Surry Hills.