Theatre Review: The One Hour Plays

A one-off drama is created in-front of your eyes in 60 minutes flat at every performance of THE ONE HOUR PLAYS.

Imagine the horror of facing a drunken central London bear-pit demanding a witty and erudite play in an hour flat – armed only with a typewriter.

That’s the challenge facing writer Rebecca Boey with her motley band of actors in the One Hour Plays. The audience is invited to suggest setting, plot, characters and style. Then - amid a flurry of activity - script, costumes and props are produced before your eyes. The process of production is almost as enjoyable as the finished play.

Brendan Murphy excels as the demented director, stalking across the stage with the gait of a possessed scarecrow. Meanwhile Paul Ham is the best of a talented bunch during the improvisation-fest that keeps the audience entertained as the script is written.

The gypsy-themed show undeniably looks fantastic. But its real strength is in coaxing audience involvement – witty heckling, basically – upon which the actors feast like demented swans. The result is manic and hilarious.

Yet is the resulting play actually any good? Suffice to say Boey writes more funny lines in a single hour than the writers of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps managed in a decade. When the show hits Edinburgh Festival this year other authors will be gagging on their deep-fried Mars bars with jealousy.

* At the Leicester Square Theatre in Leicester Place, WC2.