A Life In 22 Minutes (revisited) – Pulse Fringe Festival

One of the joys of any arts festival is the multitude of events happening on any one day and those spur of the moment decisions that result in you seeing an unplanned show.

On the first day of the Pulse Fringe Festival, theatre company Inspector Sands shared the first showing of their latest creation, A Life In 22 Minutes. The work had been created from scratch in only four days and the review of that first performance can be found here.

A half hour gap in between shows on day two of Pulse gave the unplanned opportunity to catch the second showing of the same show. Not content to rest on their laurels, the company has apparently continued to work and develop the show throughout the day, so the chance to see what changes had been made seemed to good to resist.

The main bulk of the piece remains broadly the same so this re-review will concentrate on the changes made and should ideally be read in conjunction with that first review.

What is apparent from the start is a general settling in of the piece, even within these mere 24 hours. Structurally the main development is with the second half of the piece and the introduction of the Norma Desmond/Zaza Gabor character. Yesterday, the character solicited interaction with the audience; today it’s a more structured monologue without the audience reaction. One can see why the change has been tried. Audience interaction is by its very nature variable and while on the first showing the audience participated, it can’t be guaranteed. By structuring a monologue musing on the character’s greatest sense of achievement it perhaps fits more with the reflective nature of the first half. It does, however, lose some of the comic impact of the character and so perhaps future development should look at ways of combining both the reflective with the comedic.

It’s a rare chance to see a show in development on two consecutive days and it’s proved to be a great insight into the creative process. One can only look forward to seeing what changes occur further down the road for A Life In 22 Minutes.

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