|Courtesy of AXIS Arts|
Unwrap Your Candy, White Bear Theatre
Directed by Nick Bradford
Pros: Good framework and interesting choices, some very funny moments.
Cons: The three pieces were bizarre, but not always in a good way: they didn’t match in tone, and all were quite anti-climactic.
Our Verdict: The show made a good effort, and had some interesting things going on, but it wasn’t that enjoyable.
The White Bear Theatre presented two separate shows this past week, the first being the bizarre Unwrap Your Candy which features three dark playlets framed by interjecting scenes of the actors portraying members of the audiences. The show had its charms, but ultimately didn’t succeed in creating a polished, relatable work.
The title comes from the introduction of the piece, which warns the audience not to make noise through some funny caricatures of obnoxious audience members. A hypoglycemic woman argues that it’s far more sensible for her to unwrap her candy in a show and risk some noise than potentially going full-on crazy with sugar deprivation.
Immediately following this, the four actors don leather masks and present the first piece, about the events which lead up to the disappearance of a young violin prodigy. The piece ends without offering any answers, which might have been acceptable if the story told had been interesting. The cast members then switch masks, and move onto the second piece, in which a realtor shows a strange man through a house which has recently been the site of a gruesome mass murder. The scene goes on for far too long, with a lot of moving around to simulate going through passages of the house. Ultimately, it too is anticlimactic and unrewarding. Finally, the last scene is the story of a woman who goes mad, imagining her unborn child is speaking to her from the womb.
The third is without a doubt the most interesting and dynamic piece of the three. It’s fair to say they get better as they go along, but often the production failed to find the proper balance of dark humor, instead switching from slapstick to macabre in a jolty, uncomfortable way. The masks, too, were a bit confusing – I didn’t quite see the necessity. The actors’ faces were hidden and they used little movement, so in fact hiding their expressions made the whole thing less interesting to watch.
The audience moments in between were relatable, featuring things we’ve all thought while sitting through a play, and getting a majority of the laughs. Overall though, the entire piece was intriguing, but unrewarding.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!
Unwrap Your Candy runs alongside Gentlemen, Please at the White Bear Theatre until 5th May 2013.
Box Office: 020 7793 9193 or book online http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/search/searchVenueDetails.asp?venue_id=35089.