Theatre Review: Clam & Honey/Baby @ White Bear

Lindsey
By Lindsey Last edited 101 months ago
Theatre Review: Clam & Honey/Baby @ White Bear

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A rare tender moment in Honey/Baby
PapaC Productions returns to the White Bear in Kennington with a pair of short Deborah Levy plays that pack a surprising punch, drawing on similar themes as The Housewives of the 1950s but twisted darker with men in the mix.

Clam is a powerful two hander with an injection of the absurd. Levy's script puts three couples into a fishbowl and under a microscope, swerving through their difficult relationships, hopes and desires and peppering their language with misplaced words which serve to focus the mind delightfully.

Honey/Baby pits Mr and Mrs Middle England's tortuous traditional homelife against a young urban couple negotiating the mores of modern love. Mrs Middle England is glazed over, hysterical and as trapped in a sterile marriage as her skirt is caught in her knickers. The middle doesn't seem a very comfortable place to be. The other couple flirt beguilingly but their desired nicknames of 'Honey' and 'Baby' disguise hidden desires that cut like a knife, "I wish you were someone else". In turn, each character is subjected to a terrifying interrogation by a maverick airport immigration officer type who sucks their identity and secrets out through the top of their head, inflicting considerable distress on both subject and audience in the process.

Both plays dissect relationships and identity with a razor sharp scalpel giving us moments of dark comedy that's just a sliver away from tragedy and where the passage from tea taking formalities to ugly violence is swift and unflinching. In short, this is an intensely gripping double bill from a brilliant young cast and director. Don't let the peaceful glug glug of the water bubbles at the start lull you into a false sense of security.

Clam & Honey/Baby run at the White Bear Theatre until 7 March, Tues-Sat 7.30pm (4pm on Sundays). Tickets £12/10.

Last Updated 19 February 2010