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Thinking Out Loud (Manchester)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Venue: Lass O'Gowrie
Where: Manchester

Thinking Out Loud features sees three new short pieces written and directed by Rebekah Harrison. All three plays are performed within an hour and cover a vast range of topics in three 20 minutes bursts. Each piece has it’s own distinctive style and features a new set of actors each time.

Knickers Down the Sofa
Starting out as an argument between a couple (Kurt Nikko and Vickie Gates) the disagreement soon reaches dizzying heights and the revelations come thick and fast. With dramatic unresolved consequences, the piece ends with many unanswered questions that leave both characters unsure of whay the future holds. It is a fast moving piece that covers a complex situation that needs more than 20 minutes run time as it all happens too quickly with the audience digesting a lot of revelations one after another without much opportunity to appreciate the gravity of the situation. With some amusing yet poignant moments it is certainly a piece that has more miles in it.

Lonesome Tonight
Again this piece does not pull any punches and tackles some uncomfortable subjects such as divorce, burglary, possible child molestation again within a very limited time window. The chemistry between Ant Bacon and Claudia Mirallegro on stage is a pleasure to see with this a strange yet convincing relationship that again develops very suddenly without the necessary time to build enough drama and suspense to make the final scene as shocking as it should be. An impressive cameo from Jessica Higgins who can be seen visibly shaking during her brief moments on stage helps give the piece some edge.This is another piece that feels a little incomplete and like it has more to give.

Catching Butterflies
This is the real gem of the evening. Blistering performances from Hayley Showman and Neil Ashton bring this chilling piece to life with such passion and ferocity that it makes for uncomfortable viewing. The twist in the tale is kept well hidden until the end when the audience are swept form feeling sorry for Showman’s sad character to being horrified at her capabilities. From thinking Ashton is an arrogant man with little regard for his ex partner, the audience become acutely aware of his pain and suffering. This explosive piece feels complete at 20 minutes and is easily the best written and directed piece of the three.

The hour soon passes and there are no weak links in the performances or the pieces. Overall the collection of work is enjoyable and entertaining and something to enjoy. 

- Ruth Lovett


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