SHOWING six short plays in the space of an hour in a confined theatre at near boiling point is no mean feat.
But somehow W&M Productions managed to pull it off with The Twilight Hour at the Canal Cafe Theatre, a stone’s throw from London’s Paddington. Sweaty but enjoyable theatre.
The production was the fruits of an earlier call to writers to deliver short plays around the theme of The Twilight Zone. Some 370 scripts were received, a shortlist of 25 was then drawn up with six selected to form The Twilight Hour. Each ‘winning’ play was assigned a director and cast, culminating in a three night show at Canal Café Theatre.
The chosen half dozen were an eclectic mix. Can I Change My Mind (written by Jon Platt) is about the transplanting of the soul and mind of a brilliant but crippled professor into that of a young lad in the hope of the former’s intelligence living on. It is a procedure that does not quite go according to plan. Clever and all too believable.
Take The Wheel (Will Cooper) centres on a taxi driver who is soon to be involved in an accident. With time momentarily standing still, he must decide which outcome is best – one where an innocent woman is mown down and killed or another where he swerves to avoid her, only to send himself, his taxi and obnoxious passenger ploughing into a wall. Both the woman and passenger assert their right to live. Poor Old Frankie, a taxi driver of 30 years standing with not an accident to his name. Will he make the right choice?
Smart Home (Jake Guastella) takes the growing use of virtual assistants by humans to look at a situation when the relationship goes somewhat awry. Rather than the human dictating terms, it is Alexa that takes control, taking steps to ensure her woman owner splits up with her boyfriend. Alexa, with a scheming mind, is determined to have her woman all to her own.
The Human Touch (David Vazdauskas) peers into the sad world of Sam who spends his life surrounded by computers and virtual assistants. He has no human contact and in desperation he seeks help from a counsellor. But who is he actually pouring his heart out to? Human or android?
Pie In The Sky (Susan Goodell) looks at the miraculous power of Key Lime Pie. One bite and miracles happen. But if greed takes over, the miracles soon unwind. William sees his life transforming for the better before his very eyes after his one bite. His investment portfolio soars in value and his girlfriend (Kimberly) is suddenly interested in marrying him after all. But despite warnings from waitress Flossie, William cannot resist his pie.
The consequences are dire.
The set is completed by Misfortune (Mark Harvey Levine) and the dire warnings a male diner receives by way of a series of fortune cookies. Even switching the cookies at the last moment with his partner – believing the waitress is up to no good – fails to stop the messages of his imminent death.
The Twilight Hour is a brilliant concept so hats off to William Ribo and Madeleine Meurman of W&M Productions for coming up with the idea. Next up for them is a set of short plays (for children) based around the theme of ‘Trick Or Treat’ and scheduled to be shown on October 26 and 27.
Title image by @WilliamRibo