Review by Emma Whitelaw
NOW in is seventh successful year, The Union
has once again produced a season of new short plays. This year
features a celebration of fresh new writing inspired by that great
British institution – the Pub.
At times deeply moving, the quirky, funny, pint-sized plays all
take place in the familiar beer stained surroundings of what could
easily be anyone’s local. Complete with karaoke machine,
the set design is superb and will make you feel right at home.
The first play of the evening, The Perseverance, features
Beth Vyse as the loveable barmaid the barflys like to call Colgate.
Serving pints with a patient smile, Colgate longs to leave her
place behind the bar for greener pastures, saving her tips so
that she can one day study or see the world.
The characters in The Perseverance are stereotypical,
yet they have a rich complexity that forgives any predictability.
Denis Quilligan plays an excellent drunken Irishman. His performance
is complimented by Andrew Dickens' gusty characterisation of Andy
The touching monologue featured in The Waterman
is performed with eloquent precision by the ever so talented Howard
Teale. It is a poignantly beautiful and poetic piece that reveals
some alarming home truths about alcoholism.
The Juror sees the evening of shorts take a
turn for the quirkier. With a hilarious sting in its tail, writer
Sioned Jones had the audience in hysterics by the end of the piece.
The pub quiz takes a satirical bashing in Horst Buchholz
and Other Stories. Stuart Draper is excellent as the
uptight, pistol-wielding George. Having placed a ridiculously
large bet with their arch-rival team, 'the flying underpants',
George is particularly keen to win.
Someone’s Son comes as somewhat of a rude
awakening amidst the hilarity of its predecessors. The lads have
taken an evening of drunken antics one step too far and find themselves
in the centre of a murder investigation.
Fingers are pointing in all directions
and only Carli, played by Jessica Randell, has the ability to
see that justice is done. But in order to expose the true culprits,
she must also reveal a deep secret about herself.
Cocktail Conversation brings a deliciously camp
vibe to the night. Downing cocktails and pills, Mike and Jim,
played by Andrew Haslam and Philip Lawrence respectively, are
on the prowl – in a big way! Haslam is an absolute riot
as the bitchy queen that has pretty much done everyone in the
The evening comes to a sobering conclusion as last drinks are
called in Karaoke Nights. An emotionally charged
piece, it will have you simultaneously in tears of joy and sadness.
Union of Shorts – PUB
The Perseverance written by Leila Borris, directed by
Ben de Wynter. Starring Andrew Dickens, Andrew Obeney, Beth Vyse,
Victoria Jeffrey and Denis Quilligan.
The Waterman written by Andrew Muir, directed by Ben
de Wynter. Starring Howard Teale, Philip Lawrence and Andrew Dickens.
The Juror written by Sioned Jones, directed by Ian Groombridge.
Starring Andrew Dickens, Nick Trumble, Aidan Crowley, Beth Vyse,
Denis Quilligan, Howard Teale and Mark Mooney.
Horst Buchholz and Other Stories written by Matthew Wilkie,
directed by Jaqui Somerville. Starring Victoria Jeffrey, Gary
Mackay, Stuart Draper, Aidan Crowley and Sioned Jones.
Someone’s Son written by Rex Obano, directed by
Michael Toumey. Starring Jessica Randell, Stewart O’Reilly,
Tom Sawyer, Paul McCaffrey, Nick Trumble, James Brough, Olayinka
Giwa and Andrew Dickens.
Cocktail Conversation written by Andrew Biss, directed
by Sioned Jones. Starring Andrew Haslam and Philip Lawrence.
Karaoke Nights written by Terry Adlam, directed by Sasha
Regan. Starring Stuart Draper, Gary Mackay, Sioned Jones, Victoria
Jeffrey, Gillian McCafferty, Philip Lawrence and Andrew Obeney.
June 14 to July 2 at Union Theatre, 204 Union Street,
London SE1 0LX. Box Office 020 7261 9876