Pros: Paul Cree gives free range to his gift of the gab in this genuine and infectious performance.
Cons: The storyline is not particularly novel.
“Come in, sit down. This is my mate Phil. Would anyone like a biscuit?” While this may sound like I spent last night on a friend’s sofa, these were actually the words with which writer and performer Paul Cree welcomed his audience to his one man show A Tale From The Bedsit. Sitting in a corner of his recreated room, Cree talks about moving away from his childhood home to Brighton in the hopes of making it there in the music industry. All the classic ingredients of a coming-of-age story are there: love and heartbreak, the struggle to make it on your own, kind friends and cruel authority figures. Think modern day, one man version of The Breakfast Club.
While the overall theme of the struggling young man who eventually overcomes his difficulties is by no means new, Cree manages to make his hour-long performance captivating, which is mainly due to his inventive way with words. He conjures images and twists turns of phrase with a practiced and comfortable ease, all in sync with the subtly present background music. Close encounters like this tend to bring with them an inherent awkwardness that arises when you find yourself face to face with an actor in the middle of a performance, but Cree is so genuine there’s no uncomfortableness whatsoever. His moods are infectious too, whether that’s his embarrassment at reading out his very first poem or his enthusiasm when talking about his favourite superhero, the Foolkiller.
The bedsit is recreated with an admirable attention to detail, which immediately became apparent when I sat down on one of the pillows and accidentally stuck my foot in an aluminium foil fast food container that was adorning the floor. Come in early to bag one of the spots next to Phil on the sofa, or you’ll be leaving with a numb arse from sitting on a thin cushion for an hour. Even if you have to make do with the floor though, A Tale From The Bedsit is worth it. You’ll depart with a cold butt and a warm heart.
Author: Paul Cree
Director: Stef O’Driscoll
Box Office: 020 7223 2223
Booking Link: https://www.bac.org.uk/content/31456/see_whats_on/current_shows/cook_up/a_tale_from_the_bedsit
Booking Until: 21st March 2014