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Varied Programme at Stratford One Act Play Fest

Stratford One Act Play Festival. Photo by Ann Evans.

Stratford One Act Play Festival runs until Saturday 11 May at the Bear Pit Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Review by Ann Evans


The Stratford One Act Play Festival's second night saw three more new plays which could not have been more different from one another. 

First off was Pigeon Syndrome staged by the Kineton Amateur Dramatic Society; written and directed by Ben Keyser and starring Christine Cherry, Dave Candy and Charlotte Ledger. 

The play begins with the wife feeding the birds in the back garden. Birds are singing, pigeons cooing and bees buzzing. But when the husband accidentally steps on a bee that his wife was trying to save, it becomes evident that this couple can barely tolerate one another. Then in 'flies' the first of a number of hapless pigeons, all of whom come to a sticky end through flying into the kitchen window, sometimes with a bit of help. That's because hubby realises he can get into his wife's good books when he shows that deep down he's really kind to wild creatures and will nurse any injured pigeon back to health. But to keep up his 'good work' he needs a ready supply of pigeons who are clearly not 'eagle eyed'.  Great acting by Christine Cherry and Dave Candy - with the third member of the cast working the 'pigeons' and also getting lots of laughs. A fun piece of theatre - taken with a pinch of salt - or a grain of birdseed!


The second play was Unfinished - Shakespeare Press written by Andy Jaggard, directed by Tony Lawrence and Moira Shepherd. It also starred Andy Jaggard, Tony Lawrence, Pete Hanson and  Moira Shepherd. Running over 40 minutes this was the longest of the three plays and told the story of Captain William Jaggard and his son, Gerald, who ran the Shakespeare bookshop in 1960s Stratford. In later life, Gerald decides to tell the true story of selling first folios, frauds, forgers, and great finds. This family drama shows how Gerald survived his father's damaging legacy. With podcast extracts, and Gerald and William Jaggard stepping forward to act out certain scenes through their timelines, plus the involvement of other characters, some out to deceive, it was a complex plot that I felt wasn't the easiest to fully grasp. However, good acting and commitment by the cast which set the scene and created the right atmosphere for this play.

The third and final play of the night was Boyfriends and Bumfluff, a short play at 20 minutes by the Phoenix Players. Written by Baz Stilinski, directed by Alison  Mallinger and starring Lisa Morris, Katie Protheroe, Baz Stillinski and Dylan. A mum and her two teenage sons visit Grandma to celebrate what would have been her son's 50th birthday. None seem too pleased to be there. The visit reveals the trials and tribulations of growing up, needing a father figure and the introduction of boyfriends - for the eldest son Alex and for mum.  Reminiscing and concerned as to what the future holds, they gradually realise they must move on and there was a nice development of relationships as the story progresses and plenty of humour along the way.


Saturday 11 May is the final night for The Stratford One Act Play Festival. For tickets:



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