More theatre excitement for 2011: Colin Morgan hits the stage
Rev Stan's theatre list 2010

Going out on 2010 theatre high: Bea at the Soho Theatre

Bea_1780875b Needed something to wash the taste of Joseph K out of my mouth and Bea proved to be made of minty fresh. Bea (Pippa Nixon) has a long term illness and requires a carer when her mum is out at work. On the inside she is vivacious, fun-loving and full of life but on the outside she is in constant pain, has a fatal prognosis and on a good day is able to make an earing.

Her new carer Not Gay Ray (Al Weaver) is chatty and extremely camp:

Loved the Scouts. Except for camping. And Badges. Too competitive. I only ever got Home Help and my mum was doing the marking so, well there was a slight scandal - but we survived.

He's just what Bea needs tapping into her inner-self and an antidote to her over-protective barrister mother (Paula Wilcox). But Ray is put in an uncomfortable position when he writes a letter for Bea to her mother in which she expresses her wish to die and asks for help.

Bea doesn't feel like a debate on euthanasia, neither is it preachy or moralistic. Instead it is a heart warming and amusing exploration of compassion and empathy, how that manifests itself and where it might lead.

Al Weaver (who reminds me a little of Aaron Johnson, looks-wise) has superb comic timing and is deliciously funny, illiciting an applause at end of several scenes. Nixon is equally good conveying the two sides of Bea in what could easily become a supporting character to Ray.

The play isn't without its faults - there are some clunky bits of dialogue, for example, but it made me laugh a lot and it made me cry and was deserving of the standing ovation* at the end.

It's only on for another week so do try and see it, it's a little gem. It's got 3.2 stars out of five on and I'm giving it four.


Last six degrees of 2010. I'm hoping that Poly G will have finished working on her complex scoring system in time for when I take up the reins again in the New Year. We've already decided that top points will go to spotting him in the audience at a play - shame 6DS started after the Polar Bears excitement back in May.

Anyway, as well as providing a fitting end of the year, in terms of theatrical entertainment, Bea is also providing a pretty good connection. Al Weaver, you see, was in Hamlet at the Old Vic and not only that but Mr Weaver actually played Hamlet for the three performances a week that Mr W rested (he didn't do Mondays or matinee's owing to the demands of the role for such a young actor).

Now I would love to have seen Al play Hamlet. He got a pretty good write up too (thanks to Poly for the link).