One bed, seven actors and a large amount of absurd dialogue. Jim Cartwright‘s, award winning play entertains at The ADC Theatre, presented by Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club. An illogical fantasy dialogue closely connected with our own experiences of bed, Cartwright obsesses over the construct of sleep, insomnia and the longing for a glass of water.
In this interpretation a rainbow coloured set and projections create a sense of nostalgia and childcentred experiences. Perfectly placed in the evening, this bill of late night theatre, left its audience longing for the titled location.
‘Seven friends in their twilight years share a vast bed. Through an exhilarating sequence of abstracted monologues, expressive movement and spectacle, they dream, remember and reflect together on a long past.’ Each taking a moment in the isolated spotlight, opportunities arrive for each character to present their abstracted monologue. A Sermon Head preaching to the attempted sleeping below, this production reads as a profound dedication not only to England, but to the worship of sleep.
Pace, energy and what often feels like a children’s TV show, vivacious dialogue is the best thing about this production. This show although brief makes an attempt at exploring characters, situations and causes of discomfort. A comment has to be made about the age presented on stage, no attempt is made to physically portray Cartwright’s original character identity. Ignoring this leaves the dialogue disconnected and although absurd, it still needs a framework to connect the structured chronology of its characters. Technically, this show includes visual projections, lighting effects and music, enhancing the performance and overall charm of the piece.
I would have liked to see this production focus on the moments within the writing, focussing on the anthropological interactions between these humans sharing one big bed. There is scope for the production to demonstrate a different interpretation, an artistic choice to show the twilight years through young eyes. Housed within The ADC, this production needs to immerse its audience, invite us into the bed, after all its an experience we all recognise. This production does entertain, engage and include moments of hilarity however. Rooted at the heart of this show is an ensemble cast, supporting one another throughout.
Whilst watching the show it is evident that Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club is a passionate and dedicated company, to which I will follow with excitement, looking forward to future developments. I leave the production longing to get into my BED, considering which character I am most akin to. 2.5/5
Review written by Meg Mattravers.
BED was shown at The ADC Theatre, Cambridge from Wednesday 16th until Saturday 19th November. The Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club will be performing Rumplestiltskin from Wednesday 23rd November. For more information on the production, visit here…