Theatre review: Notes From Bermondsey Street

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: Notes From Bermondsey Street at C Chambers St (Venue 34), reviewed by Susan Mansfield

In a busy London restaurant, there is a drawer full of secrets: thoughts, memories, cryptic one-liners scribbled on napkins and scraps of paper by diners over the years. When the drawer is opened, one unsuspecting dinner guest witnesses the stories coming to life.

It’s an immensely inventive idea and one which is capitalised on by Bear Pit Theatre, a company of 24 sixth-form students from Alleyn’s School in East London who devised and perform this show. A manic waiter selects members of the company to perform each vignette while the others, masked and grotesque, act as a kind of chorus.

Accomplished performers, they weave dark little stories and fables from lines such as “Alone in Norway for two years”, “Salvation lies within” and “For the love of God make it stop”. Some vignettes are naturalistic, others absurd and some even satirise other styles of theatre.

If there is a problem, it is perhaps that they are enjoying themselves too much. A little less excited screaming and gasping would allow for more variety in the tone. Though this might seem to reduce the show’s energy, it could ultimately create a stronger drama.

Until 26 August. Today 7:30pm

Originally published in The Scotsman

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