Camden Fringe 2017
This play follows the story of a half-bear, half-human who begins its journey with a burrito and a mosquito. The pesky mosquito causes the burrito to fall in a cascade of debris around her and so begins her journey to self-discovery. A beautiful and timeless message is unearthed through many facets in this production; it is bold, absurd and down-to-earth and the audience stand at the end in accolade and protest to the aversion of societal condemnation of homophobia that the show represents.
‘The Mosquito and The Bear’ was performed and written by Martina Pezzatini at The Lion and Unicorn Theatre with live film references by William De Ritter. A simple set of a school desk and chair stage left makes up the stage. We see film projected onto the backdrop which is played within a horizontal, ripped elongated shape adding interest to the already quirky piece.
Martina plays the bear-human protagonist sincerely and unapologetically, her growling and deep resonant voice, bear-like physicality and changeable facial expressions are a pleasure to watch. Wearing a full bear costume she enters the stage and we are intrigued to know just exactly where this play will take us, we are unsure as to the destination or what exactly we will see on the way. Satisfactorily we are surprised in comedic moments and traumatic experiences which the bear-human faces.
The writing is cleverly symbolic with the use of a continually shedding bear costume, buzzing mosquito and burritos which evidently turn up randomly and hilariously. The audience finds laughter in Hawaiian shirts, 80’s music and Martina giving her best air guitar and power dance moves. She breaks the fourth wall regularly and this amplifies the connection we begin to make with her. At times we feel as though we are stuck between a rom-com like that of the film ‘He’s Just Not That into You’ and something much scarier as Martina comically and comfortingly shoves a burrito into her mouth whilst homophobic pre-recorded remarks and interviews are played causing her to listen with intent and self-loathing.
Martina really shines when displaying raw emotion in the form of sobbing and retching. She endears us to her through her childlike, awe-struck facial expressions and tender recitations of figurative poetry. Although many segments of this show have the audience sympathising with the girl-woman-bear we could sympathise more if a deeper connection was built leading up to the more hideous and shocking moments that she encounters. Further to this, often we missed words from Martina and her articulation could be strengthened to really empower the character and issue that is presented to us. Overall it is a show that is undeniably powerful, symbolising self-liberation in an interesting and comic way that endears us to Martina and her burrito munching and so has been given the rating of ‘recommended’.