24 Hours | Artrage24 Hours is a remarkable concept, guaranteed to produce eclectic results every time. Brought to Artrage for the first time in 1998 by Monica Main and now produced by Luke Milton, 24 Hours throws together writers, directors, actors and cinematographers to produce eight new works in 24 hours. This year five theatre pieces, two films and a stop motion animation were produced.

Each writer receives a phrase, such as ‘Unkindest Cut’ or ‘Tongue Lashing’, and a cartoon frame, both reproduced in the program for the audience’s benefit. After an initial brainstorm session with their group, the writers go away and write all night, producing something for the actors and creatives the next morning.

I went into the performance expecting great things, but unfortunately came out disappointed. The writing of each piece was fairly good, but the acting overall was terrible. Whilst there were moments of promise, overall the feeling of the night was amateur and lacked depth of emotion. Part of this is excusable due to lack of rehearsal time, but some of it must come down to choice of performers.

The evening opened with Worst Case Scenario, written by Ingle Knight, directed by Michael McCall and featuring Andrea Gibbs, Jesse Phillips and McCall. In comparison to the others, this was a sharp, well written piece. It was continuously amusing and a strong opener for the evening’s entertainment.

Who’s Your Daddy was the classic aging rock star meets emotionless journalist who clashes with devoted fan story. More like improvisation than scripted, the funniest moment was when the rock star (Martin Lindsay) couldn’t get his trousers done up – which according to his face was not part of the script.

The first film of the night, Sweet Poetry, was a role reversal of the typical breakup story. Here, the boy pined after the girl, his girlfriends remaining level headed and trying to help. Smooth editing and directing were lost in the overacting and campness of the performers (Josh Crane, Rebecca Church, and Arielle Gray). It was however, still entertaining.

The Package written by Suzanne Rofe and directed by Adam Mitchell was a slick end to the first half. The characters were entertaining, as was the storyline. More thought (than the others) had been put into the direction of the piece and flow and pace.

The highlight of the night was Matt Penny’s animation Big Red Button. This stop motion short was funny yet touching, eliciting the largest applause for the night. Matt Penny was the first person to suggest introducing film into the 24 Hours project, an idea that I hope they continue.

Unfortunately the next piece, Two Girls and a Cup, written by Kelvin J Horquebie, destroyed any hope of an outstanding ending to the evening. It appeared to be making a statement about something, but it was so convoluted and badly acted that it was lost on both me and most of the audience.

John Robertson’s film Shovel was absurd, but it worked due to strong filming (DOP Stella Andrews), directing (Jess Knight) and acting from Eddie Stowers and Ben Russell. It had suspense, a storyline (absurd though it was) and a good ending.

Written by Shane Adamczak, A Moment of Hesitation was the final piece of theatre for the night. Directed by Amanda Barret Hays and featuring Phil Barnett, Natasha Commons, Angelique Jorres St Jorres and Melissa Merchant, this piece was also fairly absurd but its use of rewind / fast forward worked well. There were in jokes and current references; a well written piece by Adamczak.

None of these pieces are going to win any awards. Some of them were inexcusably written and acted. The impressive concept of creating a new piece within 24 hours this time didn’t produce anything that blew me away or made me go wow (with the exception of Penny’s Big Red Button). But given that they were produced in 24 hours, it was a pretty good effort.

ARTRAGE presents

Venue: The Bakery ARTRAGE Complex | 233 James St, Northbridge
Date/Time: 19 Oct @ 7.30pm
Tickets: $15 full, $10 conc
Bookings: Heatseeker www.heatseeker.com.au

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