A nightmare audition is nothing new but Jonathan Kydd’s 15 minute Shakespeare’s Wart is an inspired take on the hoary old trope. Kydd plays the auditionee in front of Peter Wight and Bill Fellows as a bad cop bad cop pair of auditioners who send him on a ridiculous journey of improv work, daft accents and crocodile chasing as he bids for a part in Henry IV Part II. It’s a little slow to get started but in its latter half, becomes genuinely hilarious as the demands become ever more extreme whilst Wight and Fellows remain as deadpan as ever in the face of such silliness.
A 2012 short directed by Samuel Supple (great name) riffing off Dickens’ character from Great Expectations and imagining what life he might have had that led him to the desperate circumstances under which Pip meets him out on the flats. Samuel Edward-Cook captures a great sense of the man that was but also of the man he will come to be as his Magwitch suffers in the harsh Victorian world in which events involving his loved ones swirl around him, out of his control.
Kevin Drew’s The Water is described as a visual poem which is a slightly wanky way of saying that there’s very little dialogue indeed. Not that it’s needed, the emotion that comes through the faces of Cillian Murphy and David Fox as a son and father working in a snowbound landscape and slowly but inexorably reveal the momentous occasion that is about to occur. The arrival of singer Leslie Feist turns the latter part into something of a music video as her track The Water then provides a soundtrack but the film always maintains a sombre integrity that is highly admirable.
Ria Zmitrowicz has rather cornered the market in fearsomely rough schoolgirls and in Erin Mochan’s 2010 short Tearaway, we get double the money as a split-screen device shows us two storylines that indicate just why her Gemma is such a troubled character. In one she deals with her alcoholic mother, in the other she has a confrontation with a schoolmate but in both we how the seeds of violence, once sown, are hard to shake off. Short but brutally effective.
Paul Bettany and Charlie Condou meet in a hotel bar and play a game of 20 questions, well, 8 questions, in Tristam Pye’s Euston Road, a rather nifty little short that has a great energy. Directed intriguingly by Toa Stappard, it crackles nicely as Bettany’s hustler sets Condou’s businessman something of a challenge and as he’s been stood up, he accepts. It all unwinds rather amusingly, though you will need to click on the title to see it as I couldn’t embed it here.