In this surreal short play, a couple conceive a bear. Not some cuddly teddy, mind, but a razor-clawed, sharp-toothed grizzly. The doctor is pretty baffled when he discovers what’s happened (who wouldn’t be?) but the parents, called only She and He, decide She will give birth to it anyway.
These bear-parents sit, centre of the black box stage, on a sofa in their messy front room as they relate the tale. Members of the audience are asked to read out parts of Andy McNamee’s script throughout the piece and to begin with it all feels funny and sweet, with Angus MacRae’s simple, cute music giving it all the feeling of a fairytale.
But what is McNamee’s increasingly dark debut actually about? It could be about passing judgment: from the cards we are offered to read out it appears the general public’s opinions on the couple’s decision are fairly nasty.
It could also be about mental health. She becomes increasingly detached, disappearing into her own connection with her child at the expense of her relationship with He.
It could also be about decisions: the perils of making a choice when your actions can change several lives for ever.
In the end, though, it’s very vague. An abrupt, nasty ending leaves us cold and means we never really get to the bottom of what was actually going on.
There are two nice performances from Anna Wheatley and Michael Gilhooly, who emanate a friendly warmth and move easily through several different characters. But the show isn’t fun enough, or magical enough to be simply a fantasy tale and without being properly resolved it all feels a little pointless.
By Daisy Bowie-Sell
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