I’m just back from Winchester, and the Chesil Theatre 10 x 10 New Writing Festival. Each year they put on ten new one-act plays on a specific theme, and this year the theme was David Bowie.
The building was originally a 12th century church (it’s the oldest building in Britain that’s in use as a theatre) and stone arches are still visible at the side of the intimate auditorium – so it seemed like the perfect place to leave some leaflets plugging my book.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect going in, and did feel a bit choked-up when the image of the Brixton Bowie mural was projected onto the stage. Thankfully most of the plays were very good, and some, such as Strangers When We Meet, were quite moving – although some of the plays were more Bowie-related than others (The Golden Years, though very funny, had nothing to do with Bowie at all apart from the title).
David Who? was probably my favourite. Two rather dense Doctor Who fans try to decide if regeneration is the same as reincarnation, and wonder whether Bowie will come back – as a piece of lino! Don’t ask – very silly, very funny – though I think I was the only person in the audience who got the Caves of Androzani reference. One of the characters was wearing a Labyrinth T-shirt (the only nod to the movie all evening – one of the other plays had a character billed as Jareth, but he didn’t look/act like him in any way).
I also enjoyed Try To Get It On Like Once Before – inspired by the song Drive-in Saturday, it’s about a man and woman from the future taking part in an experiment, trying to figure out how to people used to have sex – by watching 21st century porn. Christina Pye and Felix Price were absolutely hilarious in this. Their reactions to watching the (unseen) porn were priceless, and I know that from now on I’m going to smile whenever I hear that song.
Modern Love was another play that didn’t really feature Bowie (just a quick quote or two) but it deserves special mention just for Holly Truslove, as Tallulah – a young woman who finds her one night stand’s mobile phone and starts ringing his contacts to tell them what she thinks of him. She was alone on stage for virtually the whole thing, and managed to make all those conversations totally convincing – a brilliant comic performance.