The White Bear pub theatre in Kennington is the latest home for nomadic theatre group KDC as they present a
As Ynes Benotmane saunters into the simple but effective two-tone
SHE is compellingly performed by a committed, undulating ensemble of three – fluidly switching their roles. The audience is kept on its toes too: when one actor embodies a devil-on-your-shoulder style role a fresh tension emerges from the piece. If this sounds complicated – it isn’t. Testament to a strong cast and really tight direction from Sarah Beebe, SHE hurtles through its gripping plot with aplomb, keeping the audience guessing for the whole ride.
There are times in the middle of the play where the pace does drag slightly, and the acting can occasionally feel stuck at too high an intensity but you leave the first half of the evening having been engrossed and entertained – if not entirely fulfilled by the conclusion of this rollercoaster of a story arc.
In a satisfying piece of symmetry, the three women of SHE are replaced with three men in Stiff for the second offering of the evening.
The audience are kept waiting for the opening. Forced to survey health and safety posters, observe the way the office desk has been delineated into two and listen as
A play about two men tiredly running a morgue, Stiff shakes up our expectations when ‘Lonely’ (an utterly believable Graham White) arrives to drop off a recently deceased star of the silver screen. What follows is a central struggle between impulse and morals which carefully flirts with humour and disgust. Cleverly, the audience is made to feel this central dichotomy as much as the actors – at times I felt unsure as to whether this was funny anymore before being caught by another bizarrely hilarious moment. Urquhart deserves credit too: the world feels real, there are some deft touches in the set and props department and the sound and lighting transitions give the audience space to respond.
Stiff is a good piece of writing and we could easily have spent more time with these characters, but after a turn that has my entire row gasping in disbelief – perhaps
Images: Carl Fletcher