Venue: Joshua Brooks
Where: Manchester

Reallife Theatre once again shows the importance of a good script in its seventh season of JB Shorts. The six plays are by professional writers who usually write for television (almost all for Emmerdale at some point).While all of the plays are good, but there are a few that really stand out.

Sit, Stay, Roll over presents three distinct characters: One is violent and damaged by a cruel master; one is still loyal despite being abandoned by his family; and the third is a spoilt blond who thinks she is on Big Brother. John Henshaw (Looking for Eric) gives a particularly fine performance as Geoff the faithful family pet. After Jane McNulty’s brilliant and imaginative portrait you will find it hard to ever look at our canine companions in the same light again.

In Lindsay WilliamsPop - the end of a music festival clearly has bigger connotations for three teenage friends on the brink of new lives. Never has packing up a tent meant so much, and been so funny at the same time. With some agonisingly truthful moments Williams completely nails the festival experience.

The Confession written by Dave Simpson and Diane Whitley (who also manages to star as three of the characters) is another well-constructed short. It’s also the only one that manages to present flashbacks across over twenty years of a man’s life in less than twenty-five minutes. Patrick (Russell Richardson)’s confession to his priest of multiple sins contains a warning to all men not to spread their seed too liberally.

All of the shorts are pulled together with quick scene changes that ensure the whole thing zips along smoothly. Six great plays for just £6, what’s not to like? Unmissable!

- Joanna Ing