18 July 2017

Sheep at White Bear Theatre was nicely strange

The new White Bear Theatre is an attractive place in a convenient location for me so it is towards the top of my places to look when free evenings come up, as one did this Tuesday, and a humble £15 secured a ticket for Sheep. It sounded like an odd play, it was about somebody who had not slept for days and who had strange visitors, and I love odd plays.

It was also written by David Cantor who had Two Pints ... amongst his credits (admittedly it was Series 9) which was always going to appeal to me.

My route there was a simple one, train from Teddington to Vauxhall then a short walk of about fifteen minutes. For reasons I never understood, the play started at 7pm, despite being 90 minutes straight through, so my even feast was a pastie procured at Vauxhall Station. Not for the first time.

The theatre was set up with seating on two sides of a square and I took a seat in the middle of one side while everybody else piled into the other side. I felt like nobby-no-mates for a while but a few people came and sat on my side eventually. In the end the house was pretty full on what was its first night.

The stage was set as the living room in a flat and that is where everything happened. This was Dexy's flat and he was the one who could not sleep. He was visited by two friends. First an outrageous bon vivant who spent his nights clubbing with the rich and famous and then a sedate bus driver keen on board games. The fourth character was unseen out of the window, she was clearly a prostitute but Dexy tried to read something positive into her loitering and then going off in cars.

Then things got a little weird.

It could have been it-was-all-a-dream but that is an unlikely guess. Gradually we heard things about Dexy and his life that contradicted what we had heard before. A gangster was prominent. Dexy was as confused as the rest of us until and ending was reached, and that did not give too much away either.

The strength of the entertaining story came from the strong characters.

The woman, who came into the room later, was wearing a bright red dress and I hope that was a reference to, or at least a homage to, The Matrix. It certainly suited the uncertainty and artificiality of what we were seeing.

There were plenty of nice moments along the way and some of these carried the Two Pints ... house style of unexpected two liners. It was also a funny play.

Sheep was both odd and funny, as I hoped it would be. Job done.

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