Plays highlight talent both on and off stage

Rosemary Snow, Annabelle Heath, Jill Leslie and Katie Piper in Blue Suede Blues
Rosemary Snow, Annabelle Heath, Jill Leslie and Katie Piper in Blue Suede Blues

FOUR plays in one night sounds like a daunting task, but Adur Theatre Company is a past master.

The company usually performs Summer Shorts in September each year, but this year it brought them forward to tie in with the Adur Festival and renamed them Festival Shorts.

The evening of four one-act plays was performed from Thursday to Saturday at the Shoreham Centre, combining comedy and drama, with three written by local playwrights.

First up was Roger Deller’s Home Truths, which expanded on his theme first heard at last year’s Shoreham Wordfest play competition.

The first play he had ever written, it had been extended for this first full live performance, something Roger has always dreamed of.

It gave an insight into relationships within a Jewish family and although I knew the ending, having seen last year’s play readings, I enjoyed this new take on the drama.

Comedy followed with Trevor Harvey’s Dream Toppings, with Amy Bower giving an hilarious performance as a pizza delivery girl who appears to offer an extra-special service.

First written for the Arundel Festival Theatre Trail in 2006, the play was full of twists and turns.

A second play by Trevor followed the interval, Love Takes a Turn, another comedy with a dramatic twist.

This time, Amy was more of a rock chick meeting a man from a dating agency.

Confusion arose with two separate couples meeting at the same place, none of them having met before.

Joan MacGregor was brilliant as the sinister First Woman, who turned out to have more than a few drinks in mind.

The final play was Blue Suede Blues by Diane Raffle, a comedy set in a retirement home where one bored resident decides to liven things up by setting up a kidnap.

Reminiscent of Waiting for God, it was the funniest of the plays, I thought.

Jill Leslie, although clearly much younger than the part she was playing, was hilarious as Grace Armstrong, who is fed up with being an old lady.

There was some lovely interaction between the characters as young care worker Pansy Newman, played by Katie Piper, was tied up by Grace and her sidekick in a bid to force a proposal of marriage from boyfriend Derek Columbo, played by David Thomas.

The whole evening was a wonderful chance to see the work of local writers performed by local actors and actresses.

And the choice of plays provided a well-balanced mix of drama and comedy, with the twists adding a great extra dimension.

The decision to scale down the main hall with the use of screens helped to retain the intimate feel usually enjoyed in the studio setting used for the Summer Shorts in past years.