Court Shorts is part of the Royal Court’s Rough Cuts season, where works-in-progress and experimental pieces are performed in front of audiences as part of their development. Three plays were performed as rehearsed readings which were Permafrost by Brad Birch, Buried by Alia Bano and Hard Gravity by DC Jackson. This is just a quick recap of the plays for my reference really, as these aren’t being presented as things to review.
Brad Birch’s Royal Court debut, Permafrost, is a meditation on the grieving process set in a Northern town, charting the growing relationship between widowed Mary and Michael, a factory colleague of the deceased man, as she seeks a solace that he can’t quite provide and edging closer to a more meaningful connection as she seeks to maintain the link between them. James Macdonald directed this, stepping in at the last minute as Sam Taylor Wood had to withdraw due to prior commitments which was a shame as it would have been really interesting to see where she was thinking of taking the piece.
Directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins, Alia Bano’s Buried took a look at how a Muslim woman reconnecting a little with her culture and her faith after the death of her mother impacted on her relationship with a close friend and work colleague as the unexpected culture clash led to frustrations boiling over as priorities were questioned all around.
And the most instantly entertaining of the three, though as the only comedy it isn’t really fair to compare, was DC Jackson’s Hard Gravity which showed great potential. Working with a well-used structure of a couple both at the beginning of their relationship and several years down the line and suffused with a natural Glaswegianism(?) and some cracking lines, Jackson’s work, directed here by Jo McInnes, is definitely one to keep an eye out for.
Though only an hour in total, it really is great value for money and an interesting look at some works-in-progress that I really hope we get to see turned into fully-fledged plays.