The Winning Crowd
Best Cast Award at One Act Festival, LOST Theatre
'I can’t remember the last time the sky was so clear... Today could be one of the greatest days of all of our lives.'
On this day, on this day, good fortune radiates like sunshine as these best of friends discover their great luck: a car; a holiday; a baby; an infection… How will they cope when their luck starts to change?
After winning at Lost Theatre's One Act Festival, National Art Service presented the first London run of Alan Fielden's 'The Winning Crowd' in September 2011. I worked on the project as a dramaturg and associate artist. This was the first time I'd worked with NAS.
Times critic Jeremy Kingston applauded both the performances and the play itself:
"There’s nothing quite like a black farce to really get one stoked. It was a play in which mad, unexpected things continued to happen ... the cast enter into its mad spirit with enthusiasm and skill ... I would like to see it again ... great stuff!"
"I gave this the award for best cast but also I would have liked to have given it to the writer and director... for being one of the best writers and one of the best directors...wonderfully detailed performances of mad optimistic behaviour"
A written response from Dr. Daniel Somerville on The Winning Crowd
"I left the theatre elated, still chuckling, confident I had seen a play that was enormously clever and which employed a variety of techniques to leave the audience laughing and appalled; appalled at ourselves for laughing at some of the situations – should this be funny? It is funny. And deeply moving. And a terrible reflection of contemporary morality. The writing moves along at a furious rate, so fast, there were moments I felt I couldn’t be getting everything that was being said – but it built layer by layer, revelation by revelation – like when I half watch reality TV, moving from room to room, not understanding the individuals I sometimes hear and sometimes see, sometimes focus on and sometimes forget between cups of tea and hanging laundry, but immeasurably they congeal and become fledged characters with awful flaws.
One moment this play is deeply philosophical, the next it is deliberately undermined with the mundane, or with slapstick. Deadpan performances. The actors were superb. Like watching racing cars revving; just revving, revealing their power but never giving full vent until it can’t be held anymore. Then it all comes crashing down, but never so simply as a denouement, still more revelations, twists, terrible truths. There was no crashing end. More like a beast falling down a gorge, hitting the sides, spinning, tumbling, ever deeper until finally, out of sight, he hits the rocks and splinters. Out of sight, but you can hear it and it makes you feel slightly sick… and slightly lucky to be up on the precipice. Safe for now but far more attuned to the danger."
Written and directed by Alan Fielden
Produced by Louise Kemeny
Cast: Loukia Pierides, Brett John, Charlotte Baker, Sarah Griffin, Pandora McCormick, Tyson Douglas, Luke Stevenson
Photo by Louise Kemeny