Camden Fringe 2008
Bea – A Paranormal Comedy
The Rival Theatre Company
Venue: Etcetera Theatre
Bea is obsessed with bees and is buzzing constantly. What will cure it? Will it be Séances, Ouija boards or even just a bit of good old demonic possession? This play throws it all in the mix. Lynn Howes’ hilarious yet sinister comedy Bea, takes its audience on a mission to find out why and whether there is a cure for her affliction, encountering all sorts ofsupernatural incidents along the way.
A bee sits on a chair in the middle of the space. Well not a real bee, but Bea (Lynne Howes) dressed as a bee. Bea is obsessed with them, bees that is. She has bee slippers, honey pots of all shapes and sizes, bee pillows, basically anything bee related. Bea might be obsessed with bees but she can’t touch honey. She hates and despises the stuff. Bea and Tracey (Jo Viney) are children’s party entertainers and Bea has recently gone rapidly downhill and since she returned from France her skill set has vanished and her parties are a washout. To top it all off she is buzzing constantly and it won’t stop. Tracey her flatmate and business partner is starting to hate her as a result of her problems and calls in Steve (Joseph Early) an expert in the paranormal to help cure Bea. Will it be Séances, Ouija boards or even just a bit of good old demonic possession? This play throws it all in the mix. Lynn Howes’ hilarious yet sinister comedy Bea – A Paranormal Comedy, takes its audience on a mission to find out why and whether there is a cure for her affliction, encountering all sorts of supernatural incidents along the way.
Joseph Early has the ability to turn his character Steve from harmless tie dyed hippie into sinister demonic possessor at the flick of a switch, and he truly steals the show with his crazed attempted possession of Bea. Early’s character creeps up on the audience in the most unassuming of ways ensuring they are caught slightly by surprise as the plot is unpredictable and engaging. Howes, playing the title character Bea has great storytelling ability with brilliant comic timing and manages to sweep the audience away on her journey and really bring the stories she tells as Bea, to life. Jo Viney and Sarah Jane Brindley play best friend Tracey and Tracey’s Territorial Army trained tomboy sister respectively. Both are excellent additions to the cast and provide a lot of the side humour needed to keep this production ticking along at a cracking pace. The characters in Howes’ tale all take shape, change and grow throughout this play to flesh out one woman’s obsession into a very engaging and never a dull moment production.
Rival Theatre Company are one to look out for.The staging, set and costuming are simple yet effective. The gir’s party costumes were hilarious and this fringe show certainly pulls out all stops to be proffessional to its core despite the usual budget constraints and small performance space. The actors make the staging and the more complicated fight/possession scenes look effortless and believable, which is a true credit to both the director David Lewsy and performers.
It is always interesting to see a writer playing the title role in their own work and it inevitably happens in Fringe theatre. The question must be asked, would this play stand up with other actors playing the characters, especially Bea? The fact that the director is not the writer probably saves this show from falling into the ‘too close to the script’ trap. The actors are a well oiled machine on this production and the direction has been well thought out and delivered with precision. Surprising and unusual Bea – A Paranormal Comedy is a belly laugh one minute and quaking at the knees spooky the next! Hopefully this show has life after Camden Fringe because it definitely deserves a longer run.