Review: 15 Minutes Live

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Leeds Town Hall

Leeds Town Hall. There’s no denying it’s pretty theatrical.

So stick some theatre, some very special theatre, in there and you have the perfect event. As long as the material is good enough.

Slung Low, a Leeds theatre company that specialises in creating work for unusual spaces, decided last year to stage a set of radio plays, performed live, in a mill in Armley. A more charming afternoon in the theatre you couldn’t wish to find. The company repeated the trick last weekend at the more opulent venue of Leeds Town Hall and there was an extra frisson as the audience took a seat in a space that was more theatrical than a theatre.

Of the five short radio plays, two were well worth the afternoon on uncomfortable seats. The other three were engaging enough, but it was Emma Adams’ A Fresh Start, with its undertones of Douglas Adams’ surrealism that set the afternoon off on the right note and Mark Catley’s masterful Never Mind the Bolero that ended it triumphantly.

In fact, Catley’s play was a brilliant, Trojan horse of a piece. Laugh out loud funny, it was only on reflection – which the piece demanded – that you realised it had such a dark heart and much to say. Another very special, theatrical, afternoon.

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