Edinburgh Fringe 2015
The play tells the story of Eddie, who is in search of love, and convinced the internet is the way to find it. There are no particularly groundbreaking events in the plot; this show is far more about people and the way we think and act and function, particularly young adults in 2015.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect on entering the theatre for Bed. It’s a very simple set up; audience around two sides of the small room, a bed in the corner, a bedside table, and an office chair beside it. The opening scene sees a young man (Robin) appear onstage, bowing, to great applause from another young man (Eddie), and then some endearingly awkward dialogue between the two of them as Robin stands still wearing a bloodied eye bandage and with a baby hanging from his neck. The play tells the story of Eddie, who is in search of love, and convinced the internet is the way to find it. There are no particularly groundbreaking events in the plot; this show is far more about people and the way we think and act and function, particularly young adults in 2015.
One of the most striking things about this play is just how clever the script is. The audience was laughing almost throughout at the witty dialogue full of memorable lines, a particular favourite of mine being the boys’ conviction that women’s legs are “just for show”. There are enough pop culture references to appeal to those who are interested in said pop culture, but not so many that audience members who don’t follow this will feel excluded. The comedy, as well as being greatly enjoyable, is used to help put forward a more serious message about loneliness and the search for “the one”, specifically in a world filled with smart phones, dating websites and dick pics. It is also balanced perfectly with poignant moments, and a heartbreaking speech from Eddie as he leaves an awkward voicemail explaining his feelings for Robin. The four characters are wonderfully human, each holding their own prejudices and set ideas even as people who are discriminated against themselves. It’s also a play about an LGBT character where his being gay is not made into an enormous deal; it is an important part of Eddie’s identity, and is discussed, but is not the primary plot device of the play.
All four young actors were very impressive. Nikhil Parmar was given the best opportunity to show his talent as Eddie, and particularly stood out in a wonderful, heartfelt monologue near the end of the play. However, the other three were equally capable of delivering the clever, sometimes quite complex lines with all the humour and sensitivity they needed. My only real criticism is that at times they spoke a little too quickly and quietly, and the odd line was difficult to make out. This was more of an issue at the beginning of the play, and fortunately as they warmed up we could catch every word.
Overall, I would recommend this show to theatre lovers of all ages. While it may be a play about, and perhaps primarily aimed at, young people, there were plenty of older people in the audience laughing just as hard as the teenagers. It’s clever without being pretentious; it has a message but doesn’t throw it in your face; it’s excellently performed, and all around a very enjoyable piece of theatre.