Monday 23 October 2017

Theatre: The bear's tuxedo left me grizzly

Emer O'Kelly

Keith-James Walker's The Bear's Tuxedo prompts one overwhelming thought: was it Ernest Hemingway or Malcolm Lowry who came to him in a nightmare?

The first name is conjured by the impossibly macho stereotype of a gay wet dream, the second by the setting of the second half (yes, it has two halves: in a little lunchtime play) which is a supposedly drunken trip through Mexican badlands in search of the mutilated body of the central character's father. (Don't ask: it's not worth the answer.)

Billy Sendoza is the movie-obsessed (yawn!) gay son of a Mexican mother who took refuge in California when her husband deserted her. Billy works for an undertaker and one of his "customers" conveniently bequeaths a run-down dance studio to him ... not that that has anything to do with anything.

He lives with Frederico, commits infidelity with Luciano, and the play portrays the conversation of all three in an indistinguishable psycho-babble of self-pitying self-flagellation. ("Nothing sterilises passion like certainty" is one gem.)

It's produced by a new "theatre collective" called Monkey Backstage at Theatre Upstairs at Lanigan's Bar on Eden Quay in Dublin, and while new entrants to the harsh world of theatre deserve a break, it's hard to find something good to say about this piece of meandering pretension.

It is directed by the author, and played by Kieran Roche.

Despite the long list of programme credits, there is only one saving grace: Eoghan Carrick's lighting.

Sunday Independent

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