Unity Theatre
23rd - 24th March 2006

Reviewed by Helen Grey

The uniquely named ‘Extractascratch’ - part of the Scratch theatre festival - is a triple bill of works in progress, presented by three groups new to the world of theatre. Some may feel a little apprehensive at the prospect of paying to see theatre that is billed as ‘works in progress’, but instead of watching works that were a bit rough round the edges the audience were presented with tantalising snippets that left them wanting more.

The first - ‘If The Accident Will’ by Joe Binks - told the story of three generations of the same family. The forty minute piece took extracts from each of the three acts that explored the lives of three Henry Mowatts and the people that surrounded them. Aiden Lee Brooks and Emily Ball played all of the characters and were supported by a narrator who set the scene while describing the props and noises that will be present in the final play. The script has been developed over two years and is still in the re-drafting stage, but what was presented was intriguing and supported by strong deliveries. There was a sinister 1984 feel about the play as the audience was often only given scant details to where the characters were and what they were up to, but this only added to the effect. It’s nice to see a play that will hopefully stretch the audience’s imagination.

Fool’s Proof Theatre Company then offered up the first third of their show ‘Out of Sight’. This piece followed the journey of Marty, who is desperately seeking the brother who missing when they were children. This short piece was full of humour that was delivered through Marty’s exploits and the apparently insane people he knows and meets. The most remarkable thing about this piece was the dexterity with which the cast manipulated their props. With only a metal-framed wardrobe, a small red bookcase and a chair, the company convincingly managed to create a bedroom, office, plane and a tube train.

The last extract entitled ‘Murder, party-poppers and a cardboard van’ - presented by TV Baby - was one of the strangest and funniest pieces of theatre I have ever seen. It is very difficult to give a coherent summary of this play that will do it justice, so I won’t. All I’ll say is it included a lesson on how to recognise a murderer and a reconstruction of a multiple stabbing using a doll fitted with a mouse heart and the remains of Harold Shipman. They didn’t seem to like Natasha Kaplinski much either.

If this is the future of theatre in Liverpool then the future looks very bright indeed.

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