Bypass

Twenty Twenty Two, Manchester; Tuesday 30th July, 2019

Delivered in the final days of the 2019 Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, Bypass by Manchester-based Hung Theatre is effectively a mini festival within a festival being comprised of eight, short theatrical compositions connected by a common theme. 

The show delivers outputs from writers – mostly graduates of the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Young Company – who were simply given the title, Bypass, and then proverbially poked with the following stick: 

“The home you were raised in is being concreted over, any parting words?”

The resulting showcase is comprised of eight productions, each only fifteen minutes long:

 

Death Sentence

Written by: Lewis Woodward;

Starring: Adam Cryne, Alexi Papadopolous

Location. Location. Location. This property happens to be scheduled for demolition. But it’s going to have excellent transport links.

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Two salesman make their pitch. They don’t sell houses, they sell homes. These two don’t even need the full fifteen minutes to get out their full sales banter, with so much added cheesiness you can almost smell it. But when the customer (who is always right) asks about the new bypass, the sales monkeys manically spiral through all seven stages of grief; and somehow still find time to finish their pitch.

Verdict: An ultra-violent tragi-comedy with scenes of furious insurrection, these two cheesy fools aren’t ever going to sell that house.

 

Box Room

Written by: Kiedis Quigley

Starring: Alexandra O’Neill, Stacey Coleman

The lights are off, but someone’s at home. 65 pppw bills included.

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Zoe says she has a love for cuntiness, and she also has a spare room. The last tenant had to move out, but he left his filthy secrets behind and Zoe doesn’t mind talking about it. Three years have now passed since her “episode”, so she seems keen to tell the prospective new tenant that everything is fine now.

Verdict: She’s properly on the edge, but despite being way out there she’s remarkably stable and in control. A wonderfully terrifying and genuinely disturbing character who definitely needs to be resurrected at some point.

 

Loved Up

Written by: Joe Clegg

Starring: Elinor Dixon, Ugo Onwughalu

Proper loved up them two. Always have been, always will be. Everyone says.

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Emma is grieving for her dad, the remnants of his belongings lie scattered all over the place, yet she does nothing to deal with a very uncertain future. Other than to make a booty call to her ex. Will it work?

Verdict: A saddening tale of despair and despondency, punctuated with simmering frustration that anyone can let things get so out of hand.

 

Sorry & Amends Take The Bus

Written by: Jade Fox

Starring: Kathryn Bland, Lottie Jones

There’s a bus. There are two women. There are things they’ve got to do. Who are you, trying to stop them?

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Strangers on a bus to Stockport break all the rules of bus etiquette by actually talking to each other. No good can come of this, surely? One says she’s heading to say sorry for something terrible that she’s done; the other confesses that she needs to make amends for her own equally awful actions. But when the bus driver bypasses Stockport completely, the shit really hits the fan.

Verdict: A beautiful and succinct justification for why you should never, ever, ever talk to anyone when on the bus to Stockport. Ever.

 

Odds

Written by: Eleanor Cartmill

Starring: Adam Cryne, Alexi Papadopolous

Nothing weird, nothing gay, just two lads saying things to each other on a bridge. The apocalypse might also be happening. 

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The Boys: they say the odds are against them, one of them even believes that the apocalypse is upon us all. They hate Scousers, they hate Geordies, but they really seem to like each other though. Perhaps they protest a little too much?

Verdict: Hilarious shouty masculinity of the very repressed kind. No idea what they’re raging against, probably a new bypass, but it’s much clearer what they seem to be in favour of.

 

Anchorage

Written by: Cat Sharples

Starring: Elinor Dixon

Stuck on a boat and stuck in her own mind, a young woman faces anxiety.

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She just wants a place to read a book, that’s how she ended up outside your cabin. And now she’s here she may as well tell you about what’s going on with all the other passengers, and how she came to be on the ship in the first place.

Verdict: Full of happy smiles and glee, but sinking into a world of sad, lonely desperation.

 

Send Help

Written by: James Butterfield

Starring: Alexandra O’Neill, Stacey Coleman

You know, looking back on it now it was pretty funny, but at the time … God, I wished I was dead.

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Two sisters meet to pack up their mum’s belongings, neither can bring themselves to do it, even together they cannot overcome the memories that restrain them.

Verdict: Bittersweet journey into the depths of bereavement and the power of family bonds.

 

Neighbourhood Watch

Written by: Chloe Weare

Starring: Lottie Jones, Lauren Bugg

In the grey there is green & Her and She, wading through, love, loss & maybe – with clammy hands and wandering eyes.

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A date in the cinema goes well, incredibly well – they’re both nervous, this could be the one? It really could be the moment they’ve both been waiting for.

Verdict: Heartwarming tale of hesitation being defeated by reckless abandon, and the inevitable spiral back into reality and realism.


 

Highlight of the night: Box Room with it’s mood of unexplained mystery and simmering uncertainty, fuelled specifically by Alexandra O’Neill’s delightful performance. A seemingly effortless character portrayal – one that surely needs to make a return for a feature-length special. 

 

Photography: F.Digital

One thought on “Bypass

  1. […] Stacey Coleman was playing a care worker visiting a client in Kiedis Quigley’s Box Room, the person next to me was convinced she was a prospective new flatmate come to look at a spare room. However, we could […]

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