New material in Cambridge generally comes in three forms; the awful, the mediocre and the excellent.  The premier of Hatch at The Corpus Playroom definitely fit into the “excellent” category.  The aims of Hatch are to publicise and perform new material from some of Cambridge’s best poets, stage-writers and comedians, an admirable endeavour in itself.  In the close setting of The Corpus Playroom, rather than a staged performance the evening felt more like a reading to a select few friends, which in many ways aided the original aims of the organisers. 

The compilation of pieces seemed to combine a number of serious issues with comic portrayals.  Among the first pieces that were read there was a clear theme criticising the nature of society as being centred on the advancement of technology.  However, they were also littered with a number of one-liners which cordially lightened the mood.  Brought to life by Simon Haines’s directing, Jonny Aldridge’s With My Eternal Friend was the first gem of the evening.  The narrator (Nick Ricketts) was excellently portrayed and not only provided some dark points of sarcasm, but also maintained the sombre tone of voice needed for the part.  Ricketts once again proved himself as an extremely competent actor, having just finished a run playing Subtle in The Alchemist, and has continued to prove his worth. Niall Wilson’s 731 directed by Joe Pitt-Rashid was another well written theatrical scene, presenting the post WW2 interrogation of scientists who worked on human experimentation.  Joe Bannister played his role very well in representing the scientist driven mad by his own sense of guilt.

Most of the writers who stood to read their own works were on the whole thought-provoking, however there were three writers who made an impact and impressed above all.  Sophie Peacock’s Maths and Celine Lowenthal’s Small Hell both provided hints of comedy masking elements of seriousness within their writing.  Their succinct and expressive poetry seemed to incite the intended reactions in the audience. Mark Wartenberg also proved himself as an extremely expressive prosaic writer in Hunger.  His overall description moving from dream into reality kept everyone in the audience hooked on every word.  He was able to subtly present the various levels of hunger without necessarily crossing any clearly marked boundary.

The evening was, above all else, inspiring. I returned home and put pen to paper to submit a piece for the coming performances of this term. Yet, even if it was a stand-alone show, it would have done very well. As an overall piece of entertainment Hatch proved to be everything which it professed.  The works were well written and the scenes well acted.  Given the time constraints (as little as two hours of rehearsal time), the actors did incredibly well in doing the authors’ works justice.  The organisers stated that the profits from the evening would go towards later performances and this was really a show which should continue to run for a long time.  If the future provides as much good work as was presented on its opening night, then Hatch is definitely one to watch in the coming weeks for anyone who wants to be thoroughly entertained for the course of one hour.