I’ve never been to a play in the back of a pub before, but there is a first time for everything.

Can’t Stand Up For Falling DownI almost missed the White Bear Theatre precisely because it is a pub with a cheeky little theatre tucked away at the back. The second best thing about this is that you can take your drink into the theatre. The best thing about it is that the theatre itself is just a small room, equipped with lighting and sound, with two rows of seats on three sides of the rectangular room. Wherever you sit, the view is excellent and the benches are surprisingly comfy.

The sparse furniture and bleak lighting of the small room suggested that we were going to be in for a heavy performance and that we were. The three characters, all female, are united by their past history with one man. They all know him intimately but in different ways and they alternate their narrations, moving around the room as they tell us their stories and the pieces begin to fit into place.

…who conveyed beautifully the frustrated confinement and hysteria of her character’s story…

As there are only three actresses involved with very few visual or audio distractions, these three women are brought into sharp focus and placed under a microscope. The standout performance came from Bernice Pike as Lynette, who conveyed beautifully the frustrated confinement and hysteria of her character’s story. Laura Allen was perfectly cast as the young, innocent and confused Jodie, whilst Kelly McAuley subtly captured the happy-go-lucky but determined Ruby, as well as providing some moments of light humour. Considering all three are in their early twenties and McAuley and Pike had the dual roles of producers and actresses, their performances are all the more impressive.

The play lasted little over an hour, which I spent completely enraptured by the three women before me. It does, however, demand you pay serious attention; the production jumps from one character to the next with surprising ease but if you don’t keep up, you’re in for a hard time. It would be a shame if you didn’t pay it the attention it deserves, as the performances and story are both stunning, leaving you on the edge of nothingness, a feeling shared by the three characters. This production is intimate, thought-provoking and engaging – and how many times do you hear that from the back of a pub? 

Arts_4 Stars4 Stars

Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down is on at the White Bear Theatre, 128 Kennington Park Road, SE11 4DJ, until 10 August (Tues-Sat 7.15pm; Sun 4pm). Tickets are £13, concessions £10.

About The Author

University of Warwick graduate, Magazine Journalism MA student at City University. Most likely to be found at a gig, at a restaurant table or reading on my commute.

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