Venue: New Century 2

Manchester’s 24:7 Theatre Festival continues to present a diverse range of short plays celebrating new writing. As with all festivals it has its highs and lows. However, nestled into the programme is The Last Chair, an utter gem brilliantly written and directed by Ian Townsend.

A man sits on a chair and contentedly observes his surroundings. Invading his quietness is a woman who wants to sit down.  It’s soon seems that this one chair is the only chair left in the world. Two people and one chair. Just as it seems a resolution is reachable a huge spanner is thrown into the works putting the problem back to square one.

It’s an unashamedly absurd but very clever piece of silliness based around the simplest of premises and this is why it succeeds, as it doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is.

All three performers are uniformly excellent. Karl Lucas as the Man has an extremely animated face and some of his expressions speak volumes. Hayley Fairclough is superb at manipulating her voice to deliver her lines in the funniest way possible and Stephen King plays the third invader of the space with assurance and warmth.  All three are talented comedic actors and clearly relish the excellent script they are working with.
 
There is no set to speak of, other than two chairs and it’s a credit to all involved that such a simple piece of theatre should prove so utterly captivating. The Last Chair is a sheer joy to watch and totally unmissable!

-Malcolm Wallace