Remember when you were a kid and you could buy those dollar bags of candy? You never knew quite what you were going to get; it was usually pretty good, but there were no guarantees. That’s exactly what Short+Sweet is like.

Almost a cross between a school play and a small independent theatre company, Short+Sweet is both short and sweet, with a bit of a community feel. The premise is simple: over three months, 170 ten-minute plays will be performed in two categories, Wildcard and Top 80, in sessions of ten plays each. The audience votes for their favourites and at the end of the season, a gala performance is held for the winners.

Newtown’s King Street Theatre is the perfect setting for this charmingly amateur theatre festival; sagging seats, a bar slash box office, and actors changing in the bathrooms after their shows. Bless.

The plays are submitted by the writers, then directed and acted by volunteers – for many it is their first attempt at theatre, for others it’s a hobby or a job. The result is delightful, cringeworthy, honest fun. The session I saw included the full range – from a five-year-old sneezing dragon to a rape victim, from a monologue about being single to a tartan-clad demon munching cocktail sausages. Toy ducks were thrown, lines were flubbed, a cardboard pirate ship was sailed across stage. And best of all, every week there is a whole different dollar bag of candy to enjoy.

Final week of Top 80 Wednesday February 26 to Sunday March 2, final week of Wildcards Saturday March 1 to Monday March 3.

People’s Choice Showcase Thursday March 6 to Sunday March 9, Wildcards Finals Saturday March 8 to Sunday March 9.

Gala Finals Friday March 21, Variety Gala Saturday March 22.

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