REVIEW: One-act plays are ambitious and accomplished

From Disposable, one of the pair of one-act plays at Harborough Theatre, from left, Andrew Nelson as Detective Sergeant Fenton, Mark Aspland as Detective Inspector Grimes and Neil Lovegrove as Martin Lacey.
From Disposable, one of the pair of one-act plays at Harborough Theatre, from left, Andrew Nelson as Detective Sergeant Fenton, Mark Aspland as Detective Inspector Grimes and Neil Lovegrove as Martin Lacey.

REVIEW: One-act plays at Harborough Theatre: One Season’s King and Disposable.

Note: This pair of one-act plays continues at the theatre tonight (Friday) and on Saturday (February 28). For ticket availability, see www.harboroughtheatre.com. The plays will then go on to represent Market Harborough at the Leicester Drama Festival next Saturday, March 7, and Warwickshire Drama Festival on Saturday, March 28

Market Harborough Drama Society made a bold decision this month in showcasing two one-act plays which were as different as they were intriguing.

One Season’s King, a rather archaic title for a lively and fresh production, set an incredibly high bar for the standard of drama that evening.

This was a really clever play which saw a group of exceptionally talented young actors really command the stage.

Alistair Beeson, Elliot Green and Dan Masters played the respective suitors Sam, Charles and Edward, all desperate to get it on with the charming but very aloof Eveline, executed beautifully by Elise Chaffin.

Revealed in flashback and instigated from an ambiguous graveyard scene, the three men presented their own ambitious and lustful longings for this very desirable young woman in an extremely funny and inventive way – it was a kind of mash up of Monty Python meets Adrian Mole with a touch of A Room at the Top all rolled into one.

And they really made it work, with the audience loving the great verbal and physical humour.

It would be impossible to single out one of these exceptional young people as they were all brilliantly engaging and, vocally, incredibly versatile.

The second part of the show saw the premiere of Disposable, written by Craig Malpass and directed by the drama society’s John Foreman.

It was great to see the society tackle contemporary issues and to trial a new playwright.

The superb and dependable Neil Lovegrove took the lead as would-be painter-and-decorator Martin Lacey – caught here in an impossible situation which involved disposable cameras, the paparazzi, marital strife and child abduction – and that was just the beginning of his problems!

Mark Aspland and Andrew Nelson were the quietly frustrated police officers, Sgt Fenton and DI Grimes, who attempted with varying degrees of patience to unravel this unfortunate series of events.

Adding to Martin’s angst was his sensible wife Jess, played by Claire Stewart, who ably presented the notion of any woman essentially cracking up under intolerable stress.

Sarah Parker’s sparky Carly added another dimension to Martin’s crumbling personal decline but, as with all these things, some kind of moral order asserted itself at the end.

This play covered a huge amount of ground and the set, at times, felt somewhat crowded.

However, it was incredibly refreshing to see something topical, relevant and at times frankly disturbing.

It was handled well by an accomplished group of performers.