JB Shorts, in the cramped cellar of Joshua Brooks, made two more appearances in 2015. JB Shorts 13 was most notable for its finale comedy set in a fictional UKIP policy hub on the night of the General Election, featuring a superb performance from David Crellin. JB Shorts 14 had a few interesting ideas but nothing that particularly stood out.
With a similar model to JB but on a much larger scale, Bridging the Gap was an attempt to bridge the gap between the fringe and studio theatres and the main stages with new work, a gap that even established writers sometimes find it difficult to leap.
Some well-known writers, including Jim Cartwright, Charlotte Keatley and Simon Stephens, as well as some writers in the early stages of their careers, provided short scripts for the project which were performed at Hallé's rehearsal rooms at St Peter's. While not all worked perfectly, there was a high hit-rate for these new pieces and some top-class acting and directing. Let's hope that this worthwhile project will continue.
Over in Sale, my year's reviewing ended at Waterside Arts Centre with the UK stage debut of one of my childhood favourites, the Moomins, in a beautiful puppet production by Horse + Bamboo of Moominland Midwinter, with a stunning design from Tom Roger.