Bring Back Chainmail and Boombusters, Headgate Theatre, Colchester.

An interesting, and contrasting, double bill of short plays at the Headgate last week.

First up, local actor and writer Tom Campe has developed his show about medieval history and his obsession with it - or rather, a version of himself who wants to live his life as a knight.

Tom presented about ten minutes of his monologue at the Stand Up to Mental Health night last October, and such was the warm response to it, he has now worked it into a half hour piece.

Now it becomes a two hander, with Megan Risley as a clown who constantly punctures his medieval ego. They work well together and have created an entertaining piece.

Tom quickly established a rapport with the audience, and there was some wonderful audience interaction and participation, including a very funny jousting round and a knighting ritual.

Tom’s script makes topical references to Colchester and our modern age, all couched in the language of the Knights - he has done his research. It’s a mix of stand up and play, and has bags of charm.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Boom Busters, presented by Colchester Theatre Group in association with Headgate Productions.

This is their entry into the INK Festival at The Cut in Halesworth in which the production will take part in a celebration of amateur theatre.

Andy Burnham’s play imagines a future when a youth movement, Rejuvenation, with the tacit approval of government, decide it’s time for a reorganisation of wealth in the country, and break in and occupy spare rooms in homes of the 'Baby Boomer' generation.

When the first few lines of a play are shouted and the level remains that high, there is nowhere for the piece to go.

They aren’t helped by the two dimensional script, which presents the argument in a 'for or against' format, there is no 'voice of the audience' to negotiate or try to understand the situation, and the twists are obvious.

A more subtle approach may have worked, but as all the characters are so unlikable, I found it hard to care.