With 9 new plays and over 50 artists involved, Round Four was our biggest Crash Test of the season.
Kicking it off was newcomer writer Joanne Kingston's "Where There's A Will," which was directed by Susan Kennedy. This play starred Jennifer Jackson as Marcia and Doug Messenger as Will. Will wants to quit his job and let Marcia become the breadwinner, but she's already told his boss to fire him!
The second play was "The Temptress," written by Jennifer Jackson (who acted in the first play!) and directed by Kingsley. A man finds himself in an intermediate place of existence, choosing between the temptations of a devil and an angel. It starred Matt Thomson, Elisa Cristallo and Best Actress Runner Up Amanda Porter.
Third up, we had "Ramona and Julz," written by Uma Kali Shakti and directed by Gabriel McCarthy. What if Romeo and Juliette was a lesbian story? This hilarious play featured a heck of a lot of chemistry between Rosie Ghazi as Julz and Imogen Carn as Ramona, with a 'special guest appearance' by Bill Jordan. It was equal first in the Popular Vote and will be back in the Finals on the 6th August 2012.
Next was "Maybe I'm Too Jung," written and directed by Robert Armstrong. People don't ask because they want your opinion; they ask because they want you to tell them they're great. Veronica Carvajal starred in this monologue which broke a new Crash Test record - longest ever play at 17 mins and 19 seconds!
To close the first act was "How To Nail A Client," written by the students of the Hornsby Ku-Ring-Gai Creative Writing Class, facilitated by our very own Coordinator Pete Malicki. Stephen Carnell directed an ensemble of Pat Brennan, Katerina Halkeas, Bryan McMahon, Matt Giles and Mel Day, who starred in this marketing pitch gone wrong. Congrats to Gail White, Jolan Stokes, Murat Uenlue, Ruth Maher, Julianne Roberts and David Roberts for this team effort!
Act two opened with "Paws For Reflection," written and directed by Robert Renshaw. This courtroom drama with a twist was a hit with the judge, scoring it Best Director, Best Actor for Jimi Elwell, Best Actress for Billie-Rose Crane, and a close (unofficial) second as Best Play. It also starred Alison Chambers, Karol Binkowski and Shayan Askari.
"Cafe Bleu" came next, written by one of last year's winners of Crash Test - with her play "The Dominatrix" - Sue Lewington. Jacque Vickers did a fine job as always of directing, with Joan Rodd, Sam Jenkins, Emily Stratten and Lisa Hanssens. For a driving, fast-paced narrative told entirely in rhyming verse, Sue won the Playwright's Encouragement Award for this one.
Second last was the marvellous Kate Toon's "Coma Sutra," an almost-monologue about a guy who's popular with buses and his porn/regret-filled coma. Top-notch writing, directing and acting scored this Best Play and equal first in the Popular Vote, and hence a spot in the August Finals. Sarah Wadsley performed alongside Runner Up Best Actor James Hartley. Looking forward to seeing it again next month!
Finally, our Assistant Coordinator Georgie Edwards wrote and directed her play "Playing The Cards You Were Dealt." Georgie had technical problems and ended up spending the day re-working an older version of the script, but thankfully the result was a good one. Graham Yates played Ray alongside Debbie Tilley as Jenny.
Judge Con Nats was torn between his favourite two plays, and as always, had difficulty picking out the best actors and director. For the first time in Crash Test history, we had a tie for first in the Popular Vote!
Best Actor: Jimi Elwell
Best Actress: Billie-Rose Crane
Best Actor Runner Up: James Hartley
Best Actress Runner Up: Amanda Porter
Best Director: Robert Renshaw
Best Play: Coma Sutra
Popular Vote Winner: Coma Sutra AND Ramona And Julz
Playwright’s Encouragement Award: Sue Lewington for Cafe Bleu
So our Best Play and Popular Vote Winners will go through to the Finals on the 6th August. Since one of the Popular Vote Winners also won Best Play, it's just the two plays going through.
Hope to catch you at the Finals! See the Upcoming Shows page for the details of which plays, writers and directors will be on stage.
Pete and Georgie
Crash Test Coordinators