Tag Archives: Simon Pothecary

“Bare E-ssentials 4: A New Hope” from Encompass Productions

I have to admit I couldn’t make the live streaming of this new writing night. And I really did miss it! Thankfully, the show is available online and the atmosphere created by its host and “custodian of the scripts”, director Liam Fleming, can still be enjoyed. The evening has become quite a habit during Lockdown and the strong writing – comedy and drama – continues to live up to high expectations.
Cold Call by Scott Younger is a fun piece, centred on a bored data management employee flirting over the phone. The solid script is elevated by Fleming’s direction and the performance of Duncan Mason (pictured top). Younger has good sense of momentum and provides a nice twist.

A different kind of call centre is the setting for Donna Hoke’s take on the idea of ‘paying it forward’.  There are three performers (Encompass Productions are spoiling us), all impressive: Josh Morter, Simon Pothecary and Holli Dilon. A nice sense of the ridiculous makes this one enjoyable, and the idea of how charity, anonymity and social media mix could easily be developed.

Less successful, but with strong ideas, is Katie Murphy’s Just A Game. Two online gamers, with a strong back story, reveal secrets and lies. The piece has a lot of potential, so it’s a shame the script and performances are a little stilted.

The evening has a stirring finale with a powerful monologue by Alan Hall, about homelessness. Impeccably performed by Megan Pemberton, with Fleming’s direction sure-footed again, this is a particularly impressive piece – and, remarkably, the writer’s first monologue.
If there is a reservation, it’s clear that using phone or video calls as a device, while suited to an online show, is becoming the new normal. It makes sense – I get it – but is it wearing thin already? Yet fear not! While another online event is planned for the 30th of September, the company hopes to be back in a real theatre – The Old Bear in Kennington – in November. I’ll be buying a ticket as soon as I can.