Suffragette Theatre Company’s alternative monologue showcase ‘48 Hours’ is a massive success. The stars of ’48 Hours’ swapped monologues, and in two days, prepared their monologues for performance and directed another actor.
Tom Murray opens the production with a bang. His chosen monologue is from the infamous ‘The Play that Goes Wrong’. His ability to capture the audience through the screen and bring the same level of humour as the star in the live professional performance does is astounding. Directorial choices from Miriam Templeman, such as dropping the glasses, contribute to Murray’s success as a performer.
The following two performances were even stronger, with Giorgia Laird and Ben Smart showcasing themselves as a superb pair of actors. Giorgia’s monologue from ‘Hangmen’ was dazzling and subtle, showing how when an actor is that impressive, all they need is a white background for their performance to be memorable. Ben Smart’s use of space in his monologue from ‘Love and Money’ was fascinating and elevated his performance. However, being such a talent, it was a shame not to see his facial expressions close up as audiences could in each of the other monologues, but if you tilt your screen, they are undoubtedly impressive.
Miriam Templeman’s monologue from ‘August: Osage County’ was equally engaging, showing a level of control that most can only dream of. Her use of voice was skilful, and her costume choice increased believability. Again, her use of space was superb, and director Aarnav Tewari-Sharma should be congratulated for this choice. Aarnav’s performance struck a different chord, being an extract from the play ‘Icons’ written by his director, Tom Murray. Aarnav’s choice to sit closer to the screen and give a nostalgic speech opening with “you’ll see when you’re my age, none of it matters.” He embodies this character, communicating a wise sophistication which fits perfectly with Murray’s script.
The final pair offered a different vibe to the production. Alexander Cohen’s monologue from ‘About A Goth’ was skilfully directed by Aaron Rozanski. He made a choice to have the lines be pre-recorded. The only live element was Alexander’s reactions to the hilarious lines. Alexander’s facial expressions fit with the choice of a blue light, and the camera angles add to this humour. Similarly, Alexander’s directorial choices for Aaron’s monologue from ‘East’ were intriguing. Aaron is sat in a bath and aggressively scratches his head from time to time. These actions feel meticulous, which perfectly fits with the atmosphere created by the lines.
However, the show’s success must be narrowed down to the production team, and particularly producer John Duffett who contributed to the project’s professionalism. The sound quality is clear and consistent, thanks to sound designer Aaron Rozanski, and the video editing is nothing short of perfect due to Olivia Swain’s talents.
‘48 Hours’ offers a wide range of monologues from both well-known and less-known plays, which explore various themes in a short half-hour. Fortunately, the chosen monologues can be appreciated without the rest of the play. The majority are upbeat and sure to cheer up audiences during this challenging time. The production is free to watch and is so professional that the cohort could be compared to those graduating from a leading Drama School.
Image: Suffragette Theatre Company