IF I COVER MY NOSE YOU CAN’T SEE ME
Battersea Arts Centre Lavender Hill SW11 5TN To 21 February 2015.
Runs 1hr No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7223 2223.
Review: William Russell 16 February.
Telling tales and weaving spells.
Eight years ago Polarbear launched his first spoken-word theatre show in Birmingham. He has now revived it and the piece, an hour long tale told by a 28-year-old man in a dead-end job, to great effect.
Polarbear, a.k.a. Steven Camden, is a born teller of tales, a stocky chap of medium height who, on an all-white platform with a white backdrop, hold his audience spellbound.
The words are meticulously chosen, the jokes planted firmly in character – like the man’s lament that he studied for a university degree to answer ’phones.
The picture of office life is devastating. But he does have a life outside it as well and seems happily married to Jess. Then suddenly he changes character, takes-off his tie, pulls his shirt out of his trousers and turns into a ten year old schoolboy called David who dreams of writing stories, lives in a tower block with a flat roof, stalks unsuspecting neighbours to use them for his stories, is sweet on a girl in his class, has a best friend he suspects may be chasing her, and worries about the fact that his father has upped and left home.
It is a story about lost dreams, about how life does not take one where one hopes, how things can end badly, and about the people one meets along the way.
There is no denying Camden’s skill – unlike the stand-up comic a storyteller does not have the piling up of jokes and the cumulative effect of laughter to help hold the audience but must rely on the words, the arc of the story. This is a strange, fascinating and hugely rewarding evening.
The Story Teller: Polarbear.
Director: Yael Shavit.