The Preston 20th One Act Theatre Festival
The Playhouse, Preston
There was a recurrent theme of death in the plays at the festival.
In the first production (Having A Drink with Cathy) the action was set following the death of Cathy, the second was called Maureen, and took place before a funeral, and in the last play, Den, the lead character, was on his death bed.
Having A Drink with Cathy was presented by a new group called the Talented Chicks and the Old Cock Theatre Company. I thought it was slow at the beginning, but as time progressed we were presented with one revelation after another. The character of Jane, Cathy’s sister, stood out and was played well by Jane Smethhurst.
Another notable performance came from Cathy’s mum, Mrs Duxbury (Donna Keller.) Donna, who had also written and directed the play, provided the laughs. Preston Gilbert & Sullivan Society put on Maureen, which reminded me of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads.
There was only one character in the play – Maureen (Janet Dawson). Janet gave a 30-minute monologue. She held our attention throughout, and spoke to us like we were her friend.
Alan Bennett is a great observer of life and Jimmy Chinn, writer of Maureen, has this skill as well.
The play has had a good mix of happy and sad moments.
The Broughton Players presented the final play called A Two Berth Life. This was a light-hearted production, but there was a sense of impending sadness as we were told that Den (Peter Howarth) did not have long to live. I liked the interactions between husband and wife, Den and Gloria (Clare Corley). They were very relaxed together. I did think the reading out of crossword clues was overdone though.