24:7 Theatre Festival at Three Minute Theatre
Amongst the full productions of plays, 24:7 also hosts one-off rehearsed readings of plays that were submitted for consideration but were not thought to be quite ready for a main Festival slot.
The one I saw is Saving Dave by James Kerr and, despite the fact that they are holding scripts, has the same calibre of actor and is almost as fully-staged as one of the main productions. This play is a pure comedy, which is something that this year's Festival is lacking—the only one I have seen so far is No Soft Option, although many others have funny moments.
Dave (Chris Brett) is a likeable slacker with a head full of ideas but little motivation to do anything about the few that are practical. After his friend Tony (David Crowley) rejects his wacky ideas for inventions, Dave reveals his big new plan: he is to lead a new religion as Dave Christ. After recording a video rant about nothing in particular—but perhaps no vaguer than many politicians' speeches—and posting it on his new web site, he gets a follower.
Dave's first "Dave"—as he calls his followers—is Flo (Katie Norris), a hippy whom Dave invites round but doesn't know what to do with. They end up playing games and making up stories with finger puppets—while Tony looks on in amazement and keeps reminding Dave that he promised to help him build his shed.
Dave's second Dave is bossy posh girl Tanya (Jenny May Morgan), who hijacks his religion and tries to turn it into an eco-anti-capitalism protest group—until power goes to Dave's head and he threatens to scupper the whole scheme.
This script is fresh, fast-moving and funny with gag after gag, most of which hit home, helped by some great performances all round, particularly from Brett and Crowley. This is certainly the funniest play I've seen in this year's 24:7, and if it had been given a full production would probably be one of my picks of the Festival, but it's certainly one to watch out for in the future.
Reviewer: David Chadderton