alobear (alobear) wrote,

White Bear transformation

Last night, Dave and I went to see the play, James Bonney MP, at the White Bear Theatre in Kennington. The most surprising thing about the trip was the total transformation of the pub, to the extent that we thought we were in the wrong place when we walked in. It used to be tiny, with a couple of booths down one wall, and a small stretch of bar, cramped and dim, with the theatre at the back in one corner. Now, they've opened up the whole back section into a spacious, airy dining area, with an open kitchen on one side, a huge skylight, and a lovely beer garden at the far end. The theatre is now upstairs (it still seats about 50) and, most importantly, has air conditioning. The whole place is gorgeous, and we'll definitely be eating there next time we go to see a play.

Speaking of the play - it was okay. It told the very familiar story of an MP trying to juggle the stresses of a vote of no confidence from within his own party, and an affair with a demanding secretary. There were only six characters - the MP, his wife, his daughter, his secretary, his agent, and his main rival (who was also the daughter's boyfriend). Overall, I would have to describe it as feeling inexperienced - the writing, the direction, and the acting. The dialogue was very clunky in places, the actors sometimes seemed uncomfortable in the tight space, with the audience split across two sides of the stage, and there were a few fluffed lines. Bits of it were funny, though, and bits of it were clever, and the cast mainly did a decent job with the material. I didn't find myself wishing it was over, but I also wouldn't say it will stick in my mind at all.

We will certainly go back to the White Bear, especially now its been so miraculously refurbished, but this wasn't a great entry into our visits there, which have previously included several excellent Restoration comedies.
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