REVIEW: Quirkhouse 5 Monologues at the Bury St Edmunds Fringe Festival
The third iteration of Quirkhouse 5 showcased the best of local stage-writing and acting talent, as part of the Bury St Edmunds Fringe Festival.
The Quirkhouse Theatre Company, run by Jackie Carreira and A.J. Deane, returned to Bury St Edmunds this year with five innovative, heart-warming and hilarious monologues.
Punters on April 21 and 22 enjoyed a leisurely walk around the town with stops for entertainment at five different venues. Although the weather was largely on side, Sunday’s last monologue, in the garden of Café Rouge, was interrupted first
by thunder (gamely ignored by actor and audience alike) and then by torrential rain and hail (less easily disregarded).
The Bury Free Press attended the April 26 performance of all five monologues, hosted at the Constitutional Club, which was
warm and dry throughout (the odd tear notwithstanding).
Julia Tobias settled us in with a chucklesome piece about the quaint, busy and strangely dramatic life of a villager in the rural midlands (definitely not Ambridge).
Written by Richard Stainer and directed by A.J. Deane, ‘An Everyday Tale’ straddles satire and whimsy, and Tobias plays the part with wry energy and an impressively vague “non specific rural” accent.
The audience’s heartstrings were yanked into submission by Sian Notley in ‘Broken Angel’, a glimpse into the world of a heavenly escort, seemingly forgotten by her masters, struggling through her job in a war-torn hellhole. Notley swings
masterfully between soothing and furious, and the writing (by John Goldman, who also directed) is particularly thought provoking for such a fantastical theme.
Paul Green made his stage debut in ‘The Accidental Satanist’, a comic piece featuring a double-glazing salesman who mistakenly conjured up a demon while he was having a nice bath and let things slide from there.
Joanna Hagan-Young wrote and directed the Pratchett-esque piece, and Green adds his own layer of confident absurdity to the whole affair. The two talents worked well together. Anyone who’s worked in sales (or, indeed, in demon worship) will heartily appreciate the script.
Jackie Carreira showed off her writing and directing talent with ‘Unspoken Word’, a short monologue with an ever-shifting life lesson. Ella, played by Joanna Hagan-Young, is a bright and creative young woman. She has a head full of the wise words of her female role models, and a poem in her heart.
The monologue was written with Hagan-Young in mind, and it shows. Ella’s part was vividly and beautifully played,
and Hagan-Young wrote the poem featured at the end.
Perhaps not the piece I’d have chosen to finish with, the haunting ‘Appointment’ was nonetheless gripping. Written and directed by Graham Allum, the play explores the dark underbelly of the internet, zooms in on the digital traces each one of us leaves behind us, and imagines the damage that could be done if it were all collected.
A.J.Deane played ‘M’, a modern-day ‘sin eater’ who recounts his creepy experiences with wide-eyed honesty.
Check out Quirkhouse’s work on www.quirkhousetheatreco.com, and keep an eye out for future productions.