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Public's true confessions become absorbing theatre

Confessions Part 1, 2 & 3, Shop Front Theatre, Coventry, to May 11.
Developed over just a few weeks by New Project Theatre, this is a performance of three short plays, inspired by confessions submitted anonymously by members of the public, and put together by three new, unpublished writers. The first short, the humorous Don’t, Won’t, Can’t, written by Rosie Stanford, uses confessions with a common theme as inspiration. This is the only one of the three pieces which uses the whole cast and, focusing on the conflicting love interests of Anna, John, Teddy, Joss, and Rebecca, Stanford creates a soap opera-style narrative to address modern relationships. Combining some of the more unusual submitted confessions, the second short, FatCat, is a beautifully written piece exploring the effects of mental ill-health in which Nancy, who compulsively washes her hands and cannot leave the house, is searching for her lost cat. Written with insight and awareness, Rachael Mainwaring has taken a currently prominent subject and created a compelling narrative. The piece is really brought to life by the performance of Dru Stephenson – her skittish depiction of Nancy is well imagined and utterly believable. And the nervous energy she brings to the role, aided by a solid performance from Jacob Lander, holds the audience throughout. The final short, Yes, offers something different: The character David confides in the audience in a way which makes the theatre feel like a genuine confessional. Written by Alexander Millington, the well-structured script is based on just a single confession. The thoughtful narrative pulls at the heartstrings and gets to the heart of human emotion.
Presented as a monologue, James Will holds the stage with a soft-paced, gentle performance, lending authenticity to the script. It's absorbing. The set is minimal with only a few props and, apart from some nice audio work, the performances rely on the strength of the scripts and efforts of the actors. There are one or two scenes which could benefit from a change of pace, or an added dynamic.
Despite this, Confessions 1, 2 and 3 is a well assembled, thoughtful, and interesting piece of theatre which, with a little fine tuning, could develop into something very special.
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