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5 Minute Theatre


4 stars
The National Theatre of Scotland's third 5 Minute Theatre online 
extravaganza of bite-size plays performed largely live was focussed 
around the theme of youth. With some fifty-six separate performances 
beamed from hubs in Glenrothes, Glasgow and beyond in a myriad of 
classrooms, bars and living rooms, the event was run partly in parallel 
with this year's National Festival of Youth Theatre as well as the NTS' 
own young peoples' theatre programme, Exchange.

The end result was a lively, non-stop five and a half-hour mix of rites 
of passage and a desire to be understood on the one hand, and a 
mourning for lost youth on the other. If technical gremlins hadn't 
prevented it, proceedings would have begun with Douglas Maxwell's 162 
Bars Out, a lovelorn percussionist's interior monologue performed 
alongside Claire McKenzie's live orchestral score. Even on second, 
Maxwell's piece was a powerful dramatic lesson on the social and 
creative power of musical education.

Elsewhere were vibrant meditations on knife crime, social media, a 
Julius Caesar on the streets of Belfast and a musical set in a 
dentist's reception. If many works leaned towards naturalism, all were 
keen to stress that young people had something to say. Kiana 
Kalantar-Hormozi and Elliot Cooper's the Curious Case of Tim, 
wonderfully performed by Cooper, especially captured the jumbled-up 
torrent of emotions growing pains bring with them.

The final work performed was Uprising, a theatrical flash-mob 
orchestrated by members of Perth Youth Theatre. As participants seated 
in a refectory stood up one by one, it was akin to a scene from 
Spartacus. With the final words of the piece a defiant “Down with the 
government,” the future appears to be in safe hands.

The Herald, July 16th 2012

ends



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