The Playwrights' Showcase at the Pegasus Theatre involved work with varied themes and styles, written by seven members of the Oxford Playwrights. The seven short plays were performed by local amateur actors, some of whom performed several different roles each and a few of whom stood out as very promising actors. It is nice to see an opportunity which offers mutual benefit to all parties and where everybody gets a chance to showcase their talent.
Within all seven plays, there were elements which shone and elements which could do with development, both with regards to the writing and the acting. Everyone involved must be commended for their perseverance in the face of technical difficulties! However, this is to be expected in a one-night performance and overall the evening was enjoyable.
Two plays among the seven were particularly successful, and the first of these was Ray/Rey by Mark Ralph-Bowman. It stood out first of all because it was clever and and indeed laugh-out-loud funny, but beyond this, the characters were well observed and well acted by the three actors. Jenny Johns in particular must be praised for her performance in this piece, as well as her later parts. Each of the characters she played was distinct and she brought real humour and life to her different roles. Maisie Peppitt also played a convincing stroppy teenager; she is surely one to watch as a younger member of the team.
Secondly, there was a play which inspired riotous laughter in the audience. It was set in a near future, where London had just played host to another Olympic games. The two actors played older versions of Boris Johnson and Seb Cohen and both did fantastic impressions of these two well-known figures. Benji Ming's Bojo was wrapped up in bandages after a zipwire accident but he still managed to show recognisable echoes of Boris Johnson's physicality in his arm and head movements. It was very impressive. The writing itself used snippets of popular knowledge in a witty fashion; the jokes were considered and consistent. It was safe writing but assured and crafted with care.
It was clear that this show had been produced by a it is a group of people with a lot of creativity, humour and energy. I look forward to seeing future performances organised by the Oxford Playwrights.