Theatre review: Hatched 2012

by **

Dear Dad

When a theatre cast or crew member greets the audience with an apology for a failed sound system, it would usually send ripples of dismay around the room. For Hatched 2012, though, it appeals to our understanding of this annual festival that showcases young artists and their newly-hatched stagings.

Presented at St Martins Youth Arts Centre — the eighth time in 2012 — there are six shows this year performed over two evenings. I was there only on the second and final night, and so caught just three of them: mini plays that come by way of a musical, a drama, and an (almost) monologue.

As one might expect from the project’s ethos of nurturing budding talent and emerging flair, the odd hint of over-ambition and perhaps even obfuscation seems to be tolerated. But they each have something significant to say — things that often escape older (if not wiser) sensibilities — as they offer stimulating invitations to participate and feel.

First up is the subtle satire, The Threa Saga, by Jess Kapuscinski-Evans: a funny science-fiction musical that explores the many ways the disabled in our community are fit enough to leave the able-bodied for dead. A scientist (well handled by Sam Rankin) sets out to produce a “super” human to allegedly save the world from impending cataclysm as parallel universes are destined to collide. While he might perceive his wheelchair-bound creation (awesome and remarkable Kapuscinski-Evans herself) as a failure — imperfect and freakish — she turns out to be gifted and prescient, and at the same time adept at exposing her creator’s selfish quest for wealth and fame.

White Spots by David Maney calls on his audience, amidst low light and soft music, to think alongside him of something we want to let go in our lives, as he shares with us the “sinister words of cynicism and sarcasm” he wants to give up. A victim of multiple sclerosis, Maney shows how his medical diagnosis has changed forever the perspective of a young man with hopes and desires like all the rest of us. His poignant relish of his niece’s sweet innocence is particularly heartbreaking.

The best of the evening perhaps comes from Freddie Arthur: Hi Mum? — an affecting piece of theatre that shows the effects of depression on those around the afflicted. Max (exceptionally poise Max Teakle) is a primary school boy who comes home to a virtually absent mother every day. With delicate inferences to a musical father (either dead or decamped), the short drama shows how the boy craves for his depressive mother behind perpetually closed doors despite the surrogacy of a child-minder. Littered with nuanced metaphors, it ends on a somewhat positive note nonetheless when Max rediscovers music in his effort to coax his mother from solitude.

A highly engaging evening, as you can imagine, without an iota of dismay.