6th December 2004
The results are in...

And on a particularly balmy night in Manchester's tropical climes, our jungle telegraph is sad to report that KOBAL did not win Flip The Script. Oh well. For an impromptu report, proceed in an orderly fashion to the next paragraph, where your tired and emotional webmistress - pronounced "Scary Woman" on the night by the compere, a portly transvestite in glitter and cheesecloth - will attempt to sum up, in less than her customary million words, the evening's events...

This entry is purely the opinion of the Webmistress and you should blame only her.

For those of you who are planning to attend (or submit a script) and fear, as I did, that Flip The Script would be an evening of malformed performance art hell (think of Vulva in Spaced), fear not. A surprisingly relaxed event (and a cunning means to ensnare students and their short attention spans into paying £6 per ticket for a show that requires no set, no effects, no rehearsal and no expenditure - they're crafty clever bastards at the Contact), the audience sits at its jazz café tables (candles unlit due to fire regulations) and watches five-minute slices of performance, voting on them with coloured slips when a chap comes around with a hat after each piece. If you are particularly unlucky you may, like myself, be seated on the periphery of the stage, and targeted by the compere for opinions, the idea being that debate is good for the authors and allows them to learn from a live audience. 

In reality, if the authors are in the audience their friends will be present to offer voluble support, and everybody else will be too shy, reserved, drunk or embarrassed to say anything particularly negative except in hushed tones, afterwards, in the bar, when the bitching truly commences.

Tonight's first piece was, as one audience member pointed out, at a distinct disadvantage, there being no point of comparison; personally I would have thought that one's own tastes would have been a sufficient starting point, but then I am an opinionated bitch and deeply critical of everything. More troubling is the suspicion that it is impossible to judge any play by one scene alone, taken out of context and isolated.

The evening's winner (and a source of great debate afterwards) was, I thought, hilarious, but illustrated the above problem perfectly in that many of the audience suspected it of being a sketch, rather than a play, it being so self-contained and fully-formed. Personally I didn't think that was a bad thing: Monty Python And The Holy Grail, for example, is nothing if not a series of sketches on a medieval theme, but it's no less a feature film for that.

For Kobal, though, the evening was disappointing. They missed out on the top spot by only two votes and were deeply unhappy with the selection of the scene: instead of the one Distin and Lowe submitted, the director chose to use the opening scene, an atmospheric little number and very well received, but not the one they had chosen. It was also severed partway through because of time constraints so went unresolved.

The actors, given only an afternoon to learn their lines and rehearse, did a superb job on all the scripts. If I hadn't misplaced my little bit of paper I would know their names and be able to praise them better. In any event the absence of Vulva-isms and the entirely positive response to The Man With The Incredibly Strong Lips made the evening a triumph.

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