BED

Mon 10th – Sat 29th August 2015

reviews

Stephanie Young

at 11:07 on 14th Aug 2015

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Revolving Shed’s BED is a piece of new writing by James Dunn about a young gay man trying to reconcile his traditional, monogamous views with modern methods and attitudes towards finding ‘the one’. Created and performed by a group of LSE students, BED certainly has potential and with a few tweaks could make for a fascinating piece of theatre.

Dunn’s acute depiction of the group of recent graduates is humorous and sure to resonate with students of the current generation, as will the popular culture references. Credit goes to the whole cast for bringing Eddie (Nikhil Parmar), Imogen (Celine Buckens), Lena (Morgan Daniels), and Robin (Joe Shalom) to life so convincingly. Their body language accurately portrays student existence: a perpetual limbo between being slumped on a bed and moving at double-speed on a caffeine buzz.

All of the characters are predominantly likeable, relatable, and believable. Less believable is the encounter between Eddie (Parmar) and Robin (Shalom): their romantic or sexual intentions are practically non-existent and my initial thought was that Robin is a friend, not a one-night-stand.

The script is also arguably not credible. It is true that many students, after a couple of drinks, enter into profound discourse about abstract feelings, our place in the universe and the bizarre but totally viable things we’ve read on BuzzFeed. However, some of the language feels forced, more akin to that of a university lecture rather than casual dialogue. That isn’t to say the writing is poor; Dunn could probably write a stellar gender studies lecture. However, for a drama, BED is not hugely compelling.

The play is described by the company as a ‘tragicomedy about love and sex in 2015’. I wouldn’t place it within that genre: the climax of the play is Eddie’s passionate voicemail to Robin, which isn’t ‘tragic’ per se, though it is beautifully and earnestly delivered by Nikhil Parmar. BED is a drama in its simplest form with a funny and endearing cast; a show that will appeal to the quota of young adults living in the era of dating apps, polygamous relationships, and the ‘walk of shame’.

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Polly Jacobs

at 11:22 on 14th Aug 2015

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The very best of tragicomedy aims to galvanise empathy for the characters within the performance whilst simultaneously inspiring a critique of contemporary society. This performance accomplishes both with flair. Substantial emphasis is also played on the 'comedy' side of the genre, with light, elastic teenage banter covering recent affairs from oil spills to the misdemeanours of Jeremy Clarkson.

The ideas surrounding the play were highly interesting. In this technological age, how can we really find love? Is finding a 'soul mate' in the modern era as trivial as simply swiping left or right on a photograph of an utter stranger?

The stage setup worked immensely well. A large double bed occupied much of the space, becoming increasingly dishevelled as the play ran to its entirety and props were sparse, save for wine bottles and a mobile phone. The 'bed' became both a physical and an emotional centre point around which characters revolved. The romantic and sexual relationships that the fixed and stable bed came to represent were in fact painfully capricious and untrustworthy.

Onstage chemistry was captivating, particularly between Imogen (Celine Buckens) and Eddie (Nikhil Parmar) whose ease with one another became, quite simply, a pleasure to watch. With his nervous speech and capacity for tenderness, Parmar was able to make his character endearing (despite his character's occasionally ill-guided thoughts); a reimagining of Tom Hansen from '500 Days of Summer' if he were born into the technological age.

It didn’t surprise me that this was piece of brand new writing, beautifully written and highly relevant in our contemporary age. With delicately weaved dialogue and interesting subject matter it could not help but impress. The ending seemed to come all too soon and fairly abruptly, as the audience expected, and perhaps hoped, to see the tale reach some form of closure.

It was not a highly polished production, yet it did not seem like it should be. Half sentences and reconsidered utterances made for a truly believable performance. One was left truly cursing the world for its little cruelties and disappointments. This humble and eloquent play turns the ordinary search for love, into something quietly momentous.

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