REVIEW: BARE ESSENTIALS (Seven Dials Club) ★★★★★

Encompass Productions present Bare Essentials, an evening of six new short plays in a small room in the Seven Dials Club in Covent Garden. It was so full on the evening I attended that extra chairs were needed. This is pared down theatre with minimal set; it’s all about the writing here. Encompass Productions select highlights from hundreds of submissions sent from across the globe and match them with directors and actors to present ‘micro-theatre’. This is not a scratch night, with no scripts to be seen, these plays are tight and well-rehearsed.

Host Liam Fleming introduces each play with clear enthusiasm for the work to come. The theme for the evening is ‘new beginnings’, and it’s not surprising that four of the six plays come from American writers. ‘Stuck’ by Scott Mullen, shows two characters in limbo in an airport lounge. ‘Raghead’ by Tom Coash, is an affecting presentation of the difference wearing a headscarf can make to a woman’s day. ‘Radio Foreplay’ by Lucy Kaufman, is a humorous, potty-mouthed take on Radio Four drama. ‘Blue Tent’ by Gino Dilorio, is a touching farewell between old friends. ‘Almost Connect’ by Thomas Pierce, shows an opportunity missed in a coffee shop. Finally,’ Two’s Tales’ by J P Cooper presents the end of the world, as experienced by a range of couples.

If you like your theatre short and to the point, you’re in luck. With six plays in ninety minutes you’re likely to find something you enjoy here and maybe you’ll even see something you’d like to see developed into a longer piece. If you’re a budding playwright then consider submitting your work for a future Bare Essentials production.

Rreviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: Encompass Productions