Friday, February 23

[Un]lovable A Scratch Night Performance – St Augustines, George IV Bridge

[Un]lovable A Scratch Night Performance by Not so Nice! Theatre company is one hundred percent loveable. Each of the five scratch theatre pieces were deftly crafted: the writing was thoughtful and witty; set design simple yet apt; costumes spot on; lighting simple and the quality of acting perfectly matched the rigor of the black box.

Performed in the basement of St Augustine’s, this young company is brimming with talent and has a keen following. Not subject to the delays and restrictions of bidding for a grant, Not So Nice! are free to play and create collaboratively and with vigor.

Each of the five vignettes on love and the rejection of love were equally as entertaining and thought-provoking. The evening began with It’s Always a Sad Song by Will Evans. In this exploration of wants and desires we see two sides of the same coin. James (Will Evans) and Vicky (Grace Baker) tell their respective stories side by side. It is captivating. Matthew Attwood’s direction is unerring.

Second up is Odaire: Sysiphus Rex by Oliver Giggins which takes a level look at how materialism and technology rob us of authentic human interaction. Set mostly in a lift, the transience of person-to-person contact is likened to a game with different levels. Odaire (Lewis Aitken) is looking for love without any effort or even a trace of human connection, while Mr Straight Jacket (Grant Ritchie) is obsessed with figures and trajectories and is tormented by Odaire’s attentions. Directed by Grace Baker and Matthew Attwood, this silly but serious play made me grin from ear to ear.

In contrast, Genesis Etc by Alistair Maxwell, has a more reflective essence where we find Eve (Eleanor Tate) as the last woman on earth, feeling responsible and duty bound to procreate, and not relishing the thought. Tate did this monologue proud while Grace Baker’s direction created movement and stillness to suit the script.

In Me by Wren Brian was chillingly captivating. Grace Baker’s Ash was a recognisable character as was Grant Ritchie’s Jamie. Eleanor Tate directed. I found this exploration of trust, deception, omissions and secrets enthralling.

The evening came to an end with Under the Bed. I adored this piece. It was funny in a warm-cup-of-cocoa way. Kira Mason is a clever writer. Grace Baker and Eleanor Tate were very watchable in this two-hander and their singing voices melded beautifully. I loved the monster’s costume.

An enormous amount of energy and creativity came together in this programme. I commend the writers and all the creatives involved. Grace Baker directed or acted in every single play. She is versatile. It is truly heartening to see young talent taking the initiative and creating superb quality on a shoestring. This collaborative enterprise has a bright future.

Reviewer: Kathleen Mansfield

Reviewed: 11th February 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.