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JB Shorts 3 at Joshua Brooks Bar, Manchester

Published by: Caroline May on 19th Mar 2010 | View all blogs by Caroline May

Back again after two successful runs last year, the latest JB Shorts show - six brand new ten-minute plays written by top TV writers - returns to the basement of Joshua Brooks on Princess Street.

Work of this calibre, coupled with a comparatively short time commitment, attracts actors that Manchester’s top theatres would envy: JB Shorts 3 includes Chris Hannon (Lunch Monkeys), Vicky Binns (Molly from Corrie), Anthony Crank (Shameless) and Peter Slater (Ideal), while local luminaries Caroline Clegg and Noreen Kershaw are among the directors.

As usual there is an eclectic mix of style and content.  Backlash by James Quinn (currently gracing the stage of the Library Theatre) is a spoof party political broadcast satirising the anti-political correctness brigade; Lindsay Williams’ Quixotry exposes the fraught world of Scrabble tournaments; and Andrew Kirk uses multimedia technology and a bunny-girl outfit to put a relationship under pressure in I’m Mad, Me. 

After the break (featuring some very disturbing invisible theatre) S.H.A.G.G. by Dianne Whitley imagines what might happen if Russell Brand hosted a sex addicts support group in Chorlton-cum-Hardy (very convincing turn from Marvyn Dickinson as the tousle haired host who seems to be mainly addicted to himself), followed by the Trevor Suthers comedy Shakespeare’s Monkeys, a surreal piece which is dominated by Antony Bessick’s astonishing physical performance as a semi-simian zookeeper.

The finale, and my favourite, was Peter Kerry’s Truncheons and Blackberries which had sharp writing from the off, fantastic acting all round, a nice touch of farce and enough meat in the concept for a full-length play.  Peter Slater and John Catterall are a pair of memorably dim PC Plods, Verity Henry is their sexy but foul-mouthed Deputy Chief Constable, and Annamarie Bayley is a top Daily Mail columnist who inadvertently uncovers an explosive secret.

The fast-paced format of JB Shorts makes it a winner with audiences because even if one sketch isn’t to your taste another will be along in ten minutes (a much better service than the Eccles tram, I can tell you).  Here’s looking forward to JB Shorts 4.

 

www.jbshorts.co.uk

Till Saturday 27 March (not Sunday) @ 7pm

Tickets £5 on door

 

Joshua Brooks

106 Princess Street
Manchester

Lancashire M1 6NG

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