BEG TO DIFFER PRODUCTIONS: #BESTLIFE
Founders of Beg to Differ Productions Lauren Cornelius and Bella Nash put on a scratch night of new writing and comedy
A review by Tanya Howard
Lauren and Bella, both recent drama graduates, have set up a brand new female founded theatre company called Beg to Differ Production and they invited me along to their very first scratch night showcasing some hot new writers, directors and comedians. Hosted by actress and comedian Melanie Gayle the evening was set in two halves, each with one comedy act and two short plays.
The evening began with Emma Swan, one half of comedy duo Hadfield and Swan, who with her ukulale in hand brought us some amusing songs about the differences between Northerns and Londons. One of my favourites was Silence, which is about getting on the tube in London and how we do not communicate with each other and if someone tried to talk to you it would be the most shocking thing. As a born and bred Londoner I couldn’t even defend us because she couldn’t have been more right.
Following Emma was a play called Swingers, directed by Nick Reed, Sean a slightly clingy boyfriend has booked himself and girlfriend Jane to go swinging so that she doesn’t get bored of him when they’re older and prevent them from straying because they experimented when they were young. The play sees them debating whether or not they should go ahead, with Jane thinking it a ridiculous idea, until Sean reveals he never booked it but wanted to make sure Jane was happy with him and despite placating him we find out that she has secretly been cheating on him all along.
The final act of the first half was Blow, directed by Jack Silver, a play about female boxing and a deaf girl who wants to be a part of the circuit. The play tackles diversity within the arts, and the lack of representation for disabled actors. In all honesty I spend a lot of the play confused until the end when they finally revealed that the play had been set up and Libby Welsh gave a heartfelt monologue, with sign language, about she was told by a teacher that she would never achieve anything because of her disability. She has been able to prove that person wrong, but at the time as a child took that message to heart because it came from someone who should have been encouraging her.
After a short interval we came back to watch comedy duo Shelf, AKA Rachel Watkeys Dowie and Ruby Clyde, who have been friends for 13 years and are in too deep to ever walk away. They share everything, even a google account, which does get a bit awkward when they get each other’s targeted adverts with Ruby getting porn links and Rachel getting therapy links. One particularly funny sketch was when Ruby introduced her mum to her new girlfriend, where we found out that Rachel is basically in love with Ruby’s mum, although sadly they have now broken up (Ruby and her girlfriend, not Rachel and mum) but there wasn’t enough time to rewrite the jokes. A hilarious duo, I really think these girls will go far with their comedy journey.
The second to last act was a play called Lovesick, directed by Helen Tennison, which opened with Sarah, a recent heart transplant patient, asking her doctor out after their post surgery catch up meeting. Maggie, the doctor, rejects her offer and Sarah says she’s not sure why she asked because she isn’t interested in women but her heart is telling her to go for it. Literally, from her new heart, Sarah pushes Maggie to tell her whose heart she has and what they meant to her. The play explores whether an organ can hold emotion and memories, and how you don’t always get to choose how you feel because love isn’t scientific.
The final act of the night was FXXK 18, directed by Helen Tennison and Matthew Roberts, which both Lauren and Bella starred in. A mash up of sexuality across the years, from Shakespearean times to modern day 18-30 style holidays. Switching between Lady Fxxk it on her journey to London to meet the man she has been swapping sexy correspondence with and Ayia Napa where we see different reps experiences whilst working the season I was loving this play. The acting was great, all the cast really kept you on your toes and intrigued by the story, and whilst the story changed numerous time I wasn’t lost at all.
There was one depressing side to the play though, and that was that it had my mind running back to my days of working in Magaluf and all I wanted was to jump on a plane and go there after. If a play can bring to mind such thoughts and feelings it was definitely a great one. I literally text my friend the moment it was over asking her if we could book to go back next year, she sadly turned me down but I’m still hoping I can convince Lauren from Beg To Differ to plan a trip there that I can crash. I had a really great evening and I love that the girls have given new writers a platform to showcase their work, and I look forward to their next event.