17
Aug
12

Short & Sweet Brisbane 2012

SHORT+SWEET Brisbane 2012

QUT The Loft

14th August – 19th August 2012

Reviewed by Meredith McLean

Short and Sweet

Titles can be misleading. Named SHORT+SWEET a little over a decade ago for good reason, this only rings true on the surface. Underneath it all is a lot of effort and a long period of preparation. Often and only in the most hilarious ways the performances are not sweet at all. This thoroughfare of performances is in itself something quite monumental.

It’s almost like Russian roulette. You don’t quite know what to expect every time a new gang of vivacious actors leap from The Loft’s curtain. Admittedly, this is not an event for small children but the range of style does bring something for everyone. Whether you prefer crude belt-out laughter comedy or perhaps something of the more dark realism persuasion of theatre, there is not a play that won’t satisfy these curiosities.

The range of talent as well, is something peculiar to watch. Some of the actors will clearly demonstrate their experience and prowess simply by the way they frame themselves on stage. Then just as loud and proud, battling it out against the old timers, are the budding new talents of Brisbane. A few faces I even recognised from around QUT campus. I couldn’t help myself but root for my fellow aspiring university students. It’s part of an unspoken broke uni student code I suppose.

Keep your eyes open for some very promising competitors. The Rental Company will have you running out of breath trying to laugh at each gag. Ben Disteldorf and Matthew Crawford as the doomed customer and the horrifying salesman run together flawlessly.

Written and directed by Bare Bottomed Tea Friends (their name alone lets you know what you’re in for), My Bathroom Musical reveals what every girl is thinking before a night out on the town. Ladies, I warn you now. If you bring him, your significant other will definitely start to feel uncomfortable while you smile to yourself knowing it’s all too true.

But SHORT+SWEET isn’t just a comedy festival. It’s a concept that unites different playwrights, actors and directors around the world. The Pond, performed by Emily Pollard and Sam Ryan is haunting. It is so convincing because you don’t realise what they’re doing to you. In their faces, their words, the way they sit under dimmed lights then stand up and speak honestly. The Pond takes us somewhere dark and lonely without us even knowing until we realise we’re splashing around in the pond with them.

This was by no means interactive theatre, however; the audience is nonetheless something of VIP status for this festival. Not only do we have the top ten performances paraded one after the other to the audience, but you will get to vote too! By choosing your top three you get to decide who will move onto the final round. These actors, playwrights and directors have put their fate into your hands. If you attend the show, by all means, remember to choose wisely.

The man behind the festival is just as warm-hearted and good-humoured as each of the top ten plays. Rather than hiding in the wings with a stony face and shadows over his eyes Sean Dennehy comes out and greets us all. He riles the crowd up like a proper ringmaster with his menagerie of one-act plays.

This particular event is touring Brisbane and Gold Coast but SHORT+SWEET has made it’s own strides since fruition. This year the festival will be taking on international pursuits through Singapore, Malaysia, Taipei, Auckland, Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai.

So what are you after? What are you looking for? Strained for time or do you have time to kill? SHORT+SWEET caters for any and all answers. Make your way to The Loft, at QUT Kelvin Grove, this weekend and see the Top 10 or perhaps you’d prefer their Wild Card event? Be quick, the Gala Final will be coming soon and all the time, effort and amazing creativity displayed will be wrapped up into one last performance. Short and sweet the way we like it.

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