Tiny shows maybe but a big thumbs up

Director Andrew Loretto
Director Andrew Loretto
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20 Tiny Plays About Sheffield at The Crucible Studio

About half way through 20 Tiny Plays About Sheffield, some of the city’s best assets are listed. The Star is included.

So allow this paper to now repay the compliment.

Because this production - from Sheffield Theatres’ People’s Theatre company - is not just an enjoyable dramatic achievement, it is also a delightful tribute to the place it loves.

It begins with a chanting dance listing our five rivers, ends with a sketch recording the demolition of the Tinsley Towers, and, in between, references everything from The Peace Gardens to Pulp, snooker to the seven hills, The Greasy Chip Butty Song to gay bar Dempsey’s.

As you might expect, Henderson’s Relish gets the odd mention too. So does Jessica Ennis.

Among its 20 five-minute plays (it does exactly what it says on the tin) is laughter, heartbreak, politics and two hot girls kissing. Which, as theatrical combinations go, is pretty hard to argue with.

The sheer variety of the mini tales, meanwhile, keeps the audience constantly on their toes. From a sombre meditation on a Parson Cross murder to a dance-fuelled skit about the pleasures of starting student life here, there is rarely a chance to take a breath. Particularly enjoyable is the amusing but cautionary Selling Sheffield, in which the city is sold off to the highest bidder.

It’s not perfect, of course.

The cast and a proportion of the 20 writers are amateurs. The odd line is clunky. The odd one spoken clumsily. Tonight the very first piece of dialogue is fluffed slightly.

But therein lies much of the charm.

For, above all else, this is a group of Sheffielders - all ages and all races - honouring to the city they clearly love. And it hits the (steel) nail squarely on the head: warm, understated, amusing and lasting.

Runs until Saturday.