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JB Shorts 8 (Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Venue: Joshua Brooks
Where: Manchester

The eighth installment of JB Shorts is a collection of six short, inventive plays bringing both comedy and thought-provoking drama to the intimate venue of Joshua Brooks.

The laugh out loud comedy in Maddie and A Christmas Carol will leave you wanting the plays to go on forever – Jeni Howarth Williams and Judy Holt are fantastic and will leave you totally hooked.  Drunken counselling between a single lady and a bereaved man is achieved through memories of Axminster carpets, dodgy vol-au-vents and Christmas and the daughter of a star tried to step out of her mother’s shadow but flirting, inappropriate sex-toys and a compromising position leads her mother to take drastic action to prove her innocence

Beliefs and morals are questioned in the altogether darker plays The Bombmaker and No Comment where everything is not as it first seems. A police interrogation hides something much more sinister and as an agent tries to plant a bomb, morals are questioned for both the victim and the agent.  Both of these plays, however, suffer from disappointing endings and The Bombmaker tells a tale which has been told many times before.

Faith is tested in the Seminary in Seeds as a trainee priest tries to resist temptation, but finds the theory much hard than the reality. And sadly, Red - the final play but leaves the show on a bit of a low. Graham and Claire see the takeover of Manchester United by Malcolm Glazer in different ways but that story is soon lost as the play turns into a sequence of political statements. Although an attempt at balance is made, you are left being told which side is ‘right’.  The story behind the statements ends up being forgotten and unfinished.

Overll though, JB Shorts 8 offers you a great night out – you’re sure to be entertained and won’t want the plays to end so check them out; and look out for the contents of Maddie’s shoebox!

- Geoff Hodge

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