4-⭐ · Fringe Reviews 2018 · Reviews · Theatre Reviews

REVIEW: ‘Beaker’s Place’ by Only Lucky Dogs Theatre Company

4 Stars

(Performed in August 2018 – Review published in November 2018)

This was yet another peculiar but thoroughly enjoyable show from the 2018 Fringe; exquisitely dark, with genuine heart, and disturbing backbone. A good mix of qualities, all in all. 

James Huxtable wrote an intriguing and original script for this production, tackling death and morbidity from a unique angle that proved both funny and fascinating. It went off on multiple tangents, but all them were interesting and all, in the end, grounded by the purest love known to this world; that between a man and his dead cat.  Huxtable’s creation of character was a large part of what made the utterly reprehensible duo of this piece so engaging, and (at times) even sympathetic. 

The actors played a large part in that too. Matthew Bevan, in the title role, had a compelling, sometimes manic nervous energy to his performance. It was a quick-paced, forever on the move in various directions, and thus swept the audience up in his story, so as they couldn’t help but stay invested no matter how unnerving it became. Lorna Dale, as Drew, was the perfect partner to Bevan for this play, her adorable yet chilling rendering of her character serving as yet another hook to draw the audience deeper into this evermore disturbing conversation between two, let’s face it, horrible people. 

There were times, I shall say, that the action and dialogue moved so fast that some things got lost, and it felt like the script was trying to cram too much into its slot. Mostly, as I’ve said, the rapid pacing worked for this piece but there were a couple points were it tripped up. Some elements of the plot, delivered as shocking reveals, were a little predictable and clumsily foreshadowed but that said there were also a couple that came as a genuine surprise to me at the play’s climax. As with so many plays I’ve reviewed, it’s all matter of little bit of script revision, and these problems can be easily cleared up.

I enjoy dark humour, preoccupation with human mortality, and cats. This play gave me all three of those things in a pleasing and humorous manner, and it was yet another play that left me chuckling to myself and I vacated the performance space. 

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