If you like looking at relationships which don’t quite take off, shaggy dog (or murderous cat) stories, or slightly awkward moments you will definitely recognise, you will find something to appreciate in the six YouTube showcases from KickItDown Productions.
The primary aim of KickItDown is “to help artists get their ideas out”. Their stories are off-beat, quirky, disconcerting, blackly amusing, fresb and groundbreaking. Their Lockdown Liftups scheme invited creatives to submit work in the areas of both Screen to Screen and Radio Monologues.
The Digital Sharing initiative shows eighteen pieces of new writing, and was originally shared weekly through December. The pieces were selected from 700 submissions of work which would flourish in a digital space.
Work tales, home tales, childhood tales, stories of friendship, and much more are covered in this mix of Zoom plays and audio pieces, curated by a new company and crafted in lockdown.
These are not all pandemic-based tales, although clearly it is present in a lot of the pieces here. Loneliness, love, and longing crops up again and again.
Let’s Meet Up, by Ed Birch, is an LGBTQIA+ tale of two teenage boys, set in lockdown. Bony Fonseca and Zishan Afsar give believable and perceptive performances under Glynne Steele’s direction in this Zoom piece.
Mousing, by Tom Misuraca, is an audio play performed by Tim Cartwright, co-directed by Olivia Phipps and Laura Macmahon. A cat becomes the enemy in this quirky and unsettling audio play.
Past The Pier, by Sam Milnes, is a tale of childhood regrets and family conflict. Performed with a wistful sense of regret by Danyal Ismail, this is an excellent story, well-told, conjuring up images of a seaside which isn’t always benign. Directed by Nathan Charles.
Catch It, by Andy Chaplin, has two siblings far apart, attempting to reconnect. Mark Nicolson and Miranda Heath appear as the brother and sister who are finding an uneasy truce in this Zoom play of family conflict, directed by Jamie Hogarth.
Whisky Wednesdays, by Paige Cowan-Hall, is a father-daughter(s) story, with Emma Jay Thomas, Roberta Livingston, and John Vernon. It’s awkward, yet uplifting, as Zoom chats can often be, with a back story we don’t quite connect with, but are intrigued by. Directed by Kwame Owusu.
Wallace, by Jamie Bisping, with Daniel Carlin, directed by Toby Ashbourne, proves to be a dark tale of a menacing presence, with a dose of humour.
The Time Is Now, by Joe Meegan, is a piece set on Zoom as colleagues work from home. Sweetly delightful and toe-curlingly awkward throughout, this is a stand-out piece with Emily Rose Ambler, Daniel Christostomou, and David Mildon all particularly convincing. Robeet Thorpe-Woods directs.
Seaside, by Martha Reed, with a thoughtful reading from Nadia Wyn Abouayen. Directed by Gwenan Bain and Alice Eklund. A meeting at a beach takes on an ethereal quality in this audio play.
My Heart is Not Home, by Clare Campbell, with Emma Bowen, directed by Chris Hallas, is also an audio play set at the beach but the topic this time is first love. I found it raised a lot of questions but would have benefitted from a tighter focus.
Guy/Man/Guy, by Sophia Chetin-Leuner, is about the pursuit of physical fitness in isolation, and its disappointments, with a lively audio performance from Ruban Nathan, directed by Paul Blinkthorn.
Twitcher, by Megan Smith, is a disturbing piece about the negative side of viewing, stalking, and obsession. Ruth Syratt keeps the interest in her performance, directed by Nessa Wrafter.
3800 Miles, by Ben Lawrence, is about speed dating, with Perdita Ogbourne (a dancer far from home) and Shivi Hotwani (the geek), directed by Mina Barber. In a five-minute slot, it manages to make a connection between the two characters, half a world apart, and I wanted to see what happened next.
Peer Support, by Molly Sweeney, is about friendship and mental health. Featuring Radhika Aggarwal, Lucy Beresford, Tom Gordon and Josh Sinclair Evans, directed by Adam Morley. A Zoom piece about friends, or perhaps a therapy group, this is well performed but ulitmately underdeveloped.
Native, an audio piece by and featuring Priyanka Patel, is a tale from a South Asian female perspective. Directed by Parvinder Shergill. It is a piece of frustration and identification, a plea to be understood and listened to.
Choose Shoes, by Hannah Weetman. A workplace comedy with ink black tones and the occasional alien, with Jack Hefferan, Carrie Cohen, Caroline King-Gadekah and Edmund Digby-Jones. Directed by Claire Parry.
Love in Lockdown, by Jessica Norman, with Cara Horgan, directed by Nessa Wrafter. A tale of sex and love which didn’t go where I expected.
Ctrl + Alt + Delete, by Caroline Wilson and Angela Moneke, with Alison Boateng, Gelito Da Matam, Morayo Adeagbo and Renford Warmington. Directed by Lolly Comms. A birthday party on Zoom, family secrets, stresses and skeletons, which felt like a first act of a drama we have yet to see.
Tina, by Max Wilkinson, with Honey Gabriel, a twisted tale of a housewife who has risen to her basic survival instincts with next-door’s cat. Directed by Kwame Owusu.
The six KickItDown Productions Digital Sharing sets are available freely on their YouTube channel. As the pieces are of such a short length, you can dip into all or any of them and be sure of finding something entertaining, as well as supporting new writing.