by Greg Freeman.
Tabard Theatre 2 Bath Road Turnham Green W4 1LW To 7 April 2012.
Runs 1hr 30min No interval.
TICKETS: 0208 995 6035.
Review: William Russell 23 March.
There’s something dangerous about cuddly toys.
If you go down in the woods watch out for the teddy bears, avoid the clowns and if a peculiar female doll approached – head for open country. Greg Freeman’s play is a jolly romp through the world of the nursery, except, that, as everyone knows, those fairy tales are anything but jolly. Grimm, in fact.
He has a way with language, can create splendid riffs for the characters, especially the whey-faced clown (Rhys King, tense as a coiled watch spring) who menaces the three innocent bears. Naturally they are not all that innocent. One of them is an arsonist, one cannot lie, and the third bear is missing.
In addition a clown has been decapitated in mysterious circumstances, and assorted clowns have lost their homes in the forest fire. It is all about, I think, how totalitarian societies exploit the masses, how the masses are culpable in their own way for what happens to them, and how people seldom tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Dan Frost and James Sygrove bumble around merrily as the lost teddies, and Helen Russell-Clark is a threatening cutie doll with a very strange costume. (Vana Giannoula is to be congratulated.) It has been directed with style by Ken McClymont, who also designed the pop-up picture book set, which works a treat. Perhaps it is just daft, but I reckon below the daftness there is substance.
Ludovic: Dan Frost.
Julius: James Sygrove.
Greta: Helen Russell-Clark.
Clown: Rhys King.
Alfie: Eddie Elks.
Director/Designer: Ken McClymont.
Lighting: Ned Lay.
Music: James Freeman.
Costume: Vana Giannoula.