The Brighton Scratch Night

Unmasked Theatre’s 2018 new writing scratch night delivers a taste of nine new plays

Sussex Playwrights Reviews:

The Brighton Scratch Night

Unmasked Theatre

Brighton’s Unmasked Theatre delivered their 2018 Scratch Night at the Rialto with energy and style this week, to a packed audience and a real buzz in the bar at the post show awards bash.

Intriguing extracts from nine new plays were each performed twice over three nights – Scratch Night’s growing, and you’d need to go twice to see them all.

Our faves were two outright comedies:

Naked Kittens, written by Max Wilkinson, directed by Luke Ofield and Pip O’Neill:

A high energy encounter between Franz Kafka and agent Herr Plume. Though I did wonder where the story might go from here, it works as a hilarious sketch full of laughs delivered with a polished punch and great comedy timing. John Black’s all artistic intensity in the pretentious spotlight, and Benjamin Baeza’s manic agent is a grossout force of nature.

The outright audience winner
Mission Creep, written by Bee Scott, directed by Ross Dinwiddy:

Liam (John Black) and Tess (Kitty Rose Newbury), a demurely-underweared sweetly desperate fake couple, try to con their way onto a spaceship leaving a doomed Earth, and must convince a bonkers Dr Mary (Christine Kempell) that they are the real deal. The piece achieves a balance between comedy and an undercurrent of horror, discussing being bi, being asexual – and being watched, filmed and trapped into something they never signed up for. Just what are the alien sponsors expecting when they land? The extract closed on a cliffhanger that genuinely left me asking WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Best Performance award was won by Kempell, a comedy find who can reduce an audience to hysteria simply by turning her back and tapping a table.

The Brighton Scratch Night is a giant undertaking; inviting playwrights to submit, then reading, casting and producing each extract as a separate entity with its own director, and sometimes sharing cast members. Unmasked Theatre delivered great atmosphere and a real event.

The plays

Mission Creep, written by Bee Scott, directed by Ross Dinwiddy

Naked Kittens, written by Max Wilkinson, directed by Luke Ofield and Pip O’Neill

English Wine, written by William Patterson, directed by Roger Kay

Stone, written by Patch Harris, directed by Yanouchka Sabbatini

But at My Back, written by Jane Sunderland, directed by Sarah Campbell

Conchiglia, written by Vivienne Allen, directed by Luke Ofield

Shamrock Empire, written by Lorraine Mullaney, directed by Lauren Varnfield

Further Education, written by Pete Barrett, directed by Pip O’Neill

Bark, written by Stephanie Dickson, directed by Cassia Symes

Philippa Hammond