Repent ye sinners, the end is nigh! That’s right, despite expectations NSDF ’08 is closing its doors for the final time today, so we can all go home and think about what we’ve done. It’s customary to hand out awards at such a time, which is slightly bizarre given that appreciation of the arts is mostly subjective, but I’m a stickler for tradition and so I too would like to make some objective decisions about the shows this week and hand out some awards of my own. (Don’t worry, as is often the case in this political climate, every show will get an award so that the namby-pambies are left satisfied.)
The Trojan Award For Exemplary Manipulation of Rubber goes to Lost In The Wind for their insightful appreciation of balloons and the many shapes and sizes they can take. I have never been so emotionally affected by balloons before, and I’ve been to some fucking good balloon fairs. Well done!
The Dick Van Dyke ‘Cor’ Blimey Guv’nor!’ Award goes to The Dumb Waiter who warmed the cockles of this gaff’s heart by faithfully reproducing the accent of the much maligned cockney gangster with conviction and gusto. Huzzah!
The Happy-Slappy ‘What Was That For?’ Award goes to Fewer Emergencies for the bit of perplex glass barely visible at the back of the stage that apparently contained every object mentioned in the play. Entirely pointless and no doubt a massive drain on the budget but they went ahead and did it anyway, bless ‘em.
The Middle-Aged Mother’s Appreciation Award is customarily given to the show that evokes the biggest ‘Ooh, isn’t that nice?’ reaction from the audience and without a doubt this prestigious award must go to Proof, whose set was ‘just lovely’. A subsidiary Fuck Me! Award goes to the tech crew for getting said set out in under 15 minutes. Gosh!
The Frank Matcham Joke Award goes to that raucous bunch who put on When You Cry In Space A Fairy Shits Herself for constructing by far and away the best laugh of the entire Festival. I’m chuckling away now just thinking about it. (I’m not really, but it was still bloody funny.)
The Ian Shuttleworth ‘It Wouldn’t Have Been Allowed In My Day’ Award goes without question to Beautiful Thing, who dared to break down the kind of boundaries that would have been insurmountable 16 years ago. Challenging? You bet yer ass!
The John Leslie Award goes to Metamorphosis and if you need that one explained to you then you probably don’t want to know.
The Universal Acceptance of General Fluffiness Award goes to Jackajack, a show which evoked a feeling of warmth and love in all but the harshest of souls. I had to strangle a puppy on the way home in order to counter this feeling but still, congrats!
The Khalid Abdalla Póg Mo Thóin Award goes to the cast of Disco Pigs who I’m still convinced are going to leap out at me from a dark alley and proceed to beat nine shades of whatsit out of me, just because they can. I’m sure they’re lovely when you get to know them though.
The Michael Jackson Award For Scaring The Bejeezus Out Of An Audience was hotly contested between Metamorphosis and The Skriker because, quite frankly, both had ensemble casts that used guttural noises that made me want to turn my pants a darker shade of brown, but in the end the award had to go to The Skriker, specifically for that bloke with a stick who seemed to have dropped straight out of The Descent. Freaky!
The Boris Johnson Cigars And Brandy Award goes to those adorable girls from Strict Machine who in their own special way demonstrated why women should stay out of the workplace and in the kitchen. Mother knows best!
And finally The Move Them To The Fuck Of Their Heart Award goes to 4.48 Psychosis who, and I mean this in all sincerity, caused me to break into tears the instant I left the auditorium. The most touching, raw and emotionally draining show I’ve ever seen, quite exceptional in every way.
In conclusion I would like to thank every single person who has been involved in the Festival this year, it’s been a late-night caffeine fuelled blast and so the Thank Fuck You Were Here Too award goes to all of you lovely people, especially the Noffice crew. But not the Arts Council.