A somewhat mixed bag of pieces, Reboot Festival offers new writers the opportunity to try out very early versions of pieces they are working on. It is great that there are opportunities for those new to the industry, unfortunately, the quality was lacking in this collection of scenes. The evening was comprised of six short pieces made by a variety of different writers and directors. While these are pieces early in their development, they left a lot to be desired in the overall quality of the evening.
Son of Man
The first opens with a figure, maybe Jesus, maybe the devil, approaching a man living on the street, offering him a conversation with God. Seb Lopes gives us an intriguing presence, on better days it might gesture towards something Beckettian. But that is about as far as it went, the acting wasn’t grounded and the script would have benefitted from a subtler tone in its philosophical questions.
Kathy Rucker’s monologue, performed by Gerrie Skeens, takes us to a middle-American farm owner contemplating selling her farm. Again, an interesting leaping-off point, but it never really develops, and the characterization is not given room to breathe. I couldn’t quite pin down what the impetus for this piece was, but maybe I don’t need to.
My Beautiful Distraction
Jonny Brace introduces us to two old school friends, now grown up and apart. They meet once a year at the end of a garden to smoke and watch the clouds, but their growth apart is becoming a problem. The simplicity of this scene holds potential but demands a chemistry and natural presence on stage that was lacking between Hannah Dormer and Olive McHugh.
“We go to the moon when we die,” says a young daughter, moments later, she and her mother are on the moon. In bursts, a roman soldier, a beekeeper and eventually a doctor tells her it was all a fever dream of some kind. Nina Tolstoy (writer) asked interesting questions, explored mother-daughter relationships, and had moments of comedy. The problem was that these moments were so clouded by a lot of confusing events and unimaginative staging that I was left confused and underwhelmed.
Probably the strongest of the evening, Amalia Kontesi’s piece takes place between a soon-to-be disgraced opera conductor and his former student and lover, now cynical of his innocence as accusation crop up from other students. Performance from Veronica Sano and
Mark Keegan both have their moments and were generally believable. This was an interesting post-MeToo piece asking how we reconsider past encounters.
This one has me stumped. It opens with a man miming dancing with another woman, then a couple are watching the news report of Sabina Nessa’s murder, Father Christmas sexually assaults a girl then there is something about killing Jews. I don’t understand what Alina Rios was doing. These are complex topics to make theatre about, let alone in a ten-minute scratch night of new writing, and even then this approach was scattershot and lacked any dramaturgical footing.
Review by Tom Carter
The Reboot Festival returns to Barons Court for three weeks this October to showcase some of the most exciting emerging writers from around the world.
Each week features a different lineup of new writing gems. Book for an individual night or get a pass for the festival and don’t miss a single thing.
There’s truly something for everyone in these funny and heartbreaking gems of new writing.
Reboot Festival 2022
18 – 29 October 2022
29 November – 3 December 7.30pm