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Reboot Festival

by on 26 October 2022

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Reboot Festival 2022

Week Two

Kibo Productions at the Barons Court Theatre until 29th October

Review by Heather Moulson

Moon Child

Barons Court Theatre is bijou indeed, tucked below stairs at the Curtain’s Up pub in W14.  The lit square stage and the darkness of the auditorium brought back many memories of disco days.  However, thankfully the audience declined to dance and instead we were brought some new talented writers and performances.  The Reboot Festival was into week two of emerging writers and I looked forward to the six short plays. 

There was a nice dramatic opening for the first production, The Son of Man, written by Seb Lopes and directed by Beth Graham, with a homeless man played by Matthew John Wright who encountered the charismatic Emily Millwood, sinisterly promising – or threatening – a higher level of life.  With undertones of Squid Game, and a used car salesman, Millwood was enticing while holding onto her undertones of danger.  A taut power game?  It certainly spiralled into the macabre as she retrieved items from that bottomless bag.  A nice tight piece but it could have been more climactic.

Possum Trot, written by Kathy Rucker and directed by Locke Earle, starred Gerrie Skeens in a one woman piece.  Finely crafted, we were drawn to this lonely woman as she unravelled her story with skill.  A fine performance and Skeens was highly watchable.  It was a short play but very welcome, and an ideal slot for the second production, warming our hearts as she left the stage. 

The final piece of the first half, My Beautiful Distraction, written by Jonny Brace and directed by Amalia Kontesi, was packed tight with mind games, sexual frustration, lust and nostalgia.  Not to mention highly charged energy. The vibrant Olive McHugh and Hannah Dormor worked together beautifully trying not to say what was already in front of them. Volumes of subtext were spoken to us against highly emotional incidental music and sensitive scene changes. 

My Beautiful Distraction

The atmosphere of longing stayed tangible as the vicar husband encountered McHugh, his soft gentle manner and insight barely covering his core of steel, as he stripped away his wife’s friend’s desires and illusions.  Leaving her raw and hopeless, it was a superb and subtle performance by Simon D’Aquino, nicely bringing round sharp turning points, revelation and pain.   There was a loneliness in the friend’s final phone call, and a lump in our throats as these strong actors left the stage. My Beautiful Distraction was a beautifully written piece, with razor sharp performances and very intelligently directed.  I hope to see more from this company very soon. 


Act Two also brought us clever pieces, yet the consistency slackened just a notch.  Moon Child, written by Nina Tolstoy and directed by Sharon Willems, had nice dialogue with bleak humour and genuine tenderness.  With Karen Batholomew and Martha Crow playing mother and daughter, the piece was interjected with great comic performances by Romulus Hotea.   Batholomew was particularly natural as the protective mother.  This piece brought us bees on the moon, a thwarted Roman soldier and a touching end. 

The Soprano,a two-hander written by Amalia Kontesi and directed by Sam Tannenbaum, was sharply and grippingly played by Veronica Sarno and Mark Keegan.  The latter, an orchestral conductor and former lover, on the verge of losing everything due to allegations blowing up in his face, brought on a revelation for the young opera star.   Nicely crafted, unravelling with deep tender moments, it was very well done. 

Winter Tales

We concluded with Winter Tales, written by Alina Rios and directed by Emma Copland.  Also a two hander, there were strong performances and rapport from Emma Humpston and Daniel Lipton.  A very short piece but I felt the ending was a little bewildering and untimely as the real depth had just started to unravel.  However, it was classily done.

The Reboot Festival 2022, week 2 is on until 29th October. Do go along and catch these talented works.  Week 3 performances are from 29th November to 3rd December.  Put it in your diaries now! 

Heather Moulson, October 2022

Photography by Kibo Productions

One Comment
  1. celiabard permalink

    Enjoyed reading this review about this group of plays written by emerging writers.

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