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JB Shorts (Re:Play Manchester)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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The strategies used by Chris (James Quinn) to cope with his mother’s (Eileen O’Brien) lifelong neurosis stop him from asking an important question. Christopher Reason, author of A Selfish Boy, skilfully allows the audience to form their own judgement on whether the actions of Chris are really selfish. Quinn does, however, secure sympathy for someone whose defence mechanisms prevent him from truly knowing his own parent.

The ridiculous nature of prejudice is examined in Going to Extremes when old friends Lee (Joe Ransom) and Amir   (Sushil Chudasama) find themselves on opposite sides in a race demonstration. Although the character of Amir is under-written, author Lisa Holdsworth is able to demonstrate the origin of prejudice in class-consciousness and despair with a surprisingly light and humorous touch.

Watching the Detectives sees TV detectives resort to murder to reduce the competition auditioning for a new programme. James Quinn loads his script with in-jokes and bang up to date references but his affection for the genre is clear. Bearing in mind the blandness of some of the shows parodied, a little more edge would have been appropriate.
J B Shorts squeezes humour and controversy into three short plays to give a very good night out.

- Dave Cunningham


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