Week three Top 80 of this eight week festival of short plays is another entertaining and fun night with a great mix of plays to engage the audience. From a disastrous meeting with Santa, same sex-marriage to love with a bicycle and an art theft there is comedy, philosophy and drama a plenty.

The program begins ‘Meta Late Than Never‘ (pictured above) written by Seymour Nixen, directed by Jasper-Gore Jones, from Independent Theatre Company (ITC) Grumpy Mandrake Theatre. A fascinating look at an artist, played by Emily Elise, facing her greatest critic, played by Seymour Nixen and, as the play progresses, a change of pace makes for a great ending.

Next up is a modern tale the audience can well relate to. ‘Smarty‘, by Rod Marsden from Crash Test Cronulla is directed by Joy Roberts with a cast of James Phipps and Clara Staples. A man downloads a new mobile app and gets more than he expects and the audience gets to ask who, or what, rules our lives.

The Scent Of A Woman For My Dog‘ is written, directed and stars Sergej Kozul for the ITC Pilipenda. This is a highly poetic monologue as we follow the journey and memories of a man and his faithful companion.

Writer/director Carol Dance from ITC Scene Theatre Productions directs Julia Filipi Dance and Sasha Dance in the fourth play of the evening ‘The Woman Who Thought She Thought A New Thought‘. In this comedy the characters discuss the problem if she thought a new thought then forgot it, is it a new thought if she thought it again?

A highly entertaining “who done it” with an unexpected twist at the end ‘Monet, Monet, Monet‘, written and directed by Paulene Turner for ITC Musketeer Productions completes the first act on a high note. A Monet disappears from an art gallery, police check the surveillance videos and there appears to be only one possible suspect, but is what they see on film the truth? With Steven Tait as Sgt Brodie Corrigan, Eveline Schubert as Constable Mia Spencer, Katia Moors as Yvette and Carolina Portugal as The Woman.

A short interval follows giving the audience the chance to discuss the plays. First up after the break is ‘Santa Photo‘, written and directed by Debbie Neilson for ITC One Carriage Productions. With David Berry (Steve), Manny Said (Santa), Justine Scali as Mandy, Richard Holborn as Jackson, Chloe Richardson as Jessica, Holly Reay as Elf and David Slezak as Michael and most appropriate costumes by Marcia Neilson. A family gets more than they expect when it comes to the perfect Santa photo, with some audience members obviously remembering good Christmas intentions gone wrong.

Seventh in the line-up of plays is ‘Lucy & Me‘, written and directed by Jennifer Anne Laycock. Nicolas Angelosanto as Sphenn gives a highly athletic performance of a man who has a very special love of “Lucy Schwinster”.

The next play is a serious relationship drama highlighting a sad fact in our society. ‘Distortion‘ is written by Kaz Getts and directed by Warren Bradey from ITC RAPA. Lexi, played by Teodora Matovic, and Alisha, played by Julie Bettens, share a flat but have very different ideas about a new boyfriend with far reaching consequences.

The ninth play is ‘Right-Justified‘, written by K. Alexa Mavromatis and MJ Halberstadt. Seymour Nixen directs Alexandra Fricot as Eva and Maria Karambelas as Rostislova. A look at what makes “art–work”. A hopeful young actor Eva meets her hero, renowned stage director Rostislova who has very different ideas on the method of delivery of stage direction.

The final play of the evening is ‘Equality‘ by Terrance Bourke. Uma Kali Shakti directs Dean Nash, Donalda Brown and JP Yerma looking at the dynamics in a family now that same-sex marriage is legal.

For a taste of many different types of plays, ideas, comedy and drama get along to Short and Sweet. Located at the Tom Mann Theatre, 136 Chalmers St, Surry Hills. Top 80 Week 3 runs till Sunday 18 February then the festival continues through February and March with both a Top 80 (weekly, Thur-Sat 7.30pm, Sun 6.30pm) and separate Wildcards program (Sat 3.30pm, Sun 2.30pm throughout February).

The Short and Sweet gala finals take place in April 2018.All Photographs by Chris Lundie.

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