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FringeReview UK 2017

Bite Me

Bite Size Plays

Genre: Mainstream Theatre

Venue: The Courtyard Theatre, Bowling Green Walk, 40 Pitfield Street, N1 6EU


Low Down

This is a pot pourri of vignettes to amuse you and to make you ponder on the vicissitudes of the human condition.


In this production, nine plays are presented by four performers with one interval. The pace of each piece is excellent and the staging beautifully done. Every scene creates the mood of the piece with minimal props: a chair, a table ……just enough to establish where we are.   The acting is excellent although a bit over the top but as in every series of different plays, there are a few that really shine.

One of the most effective and powerful stories was Javier’s Rasero’s monologue “Borys the Rottweiler” a play by CJ Johnson. The plot centers on an obedient, loyal dog that loves his master but is driven to violence by the neighbors two tiny, yapping puppies. On the surface, this seems like nothing but froth, but Rasero elevates it to a commentary on the disastrous road that blind faith and loyalty can take us. The result is beautiful and heartbreaking.

Another favorite also features Rasero as a blood sucking vampire, that a well meaning wife (Claira Watson Parr) has brought home as a present to her husband (Dan Greest) so they can spend more time in the hereafter together. The dialogue is pure comedy, sharp, witty and unexpected.

Each performer has his moment in this production but this reviewer was most impressed with Emma Wingrove’s characterizations both as the marriage counselor in “Clown Therapy” a drama by Nina Mansfield in which a woman (Claira Watson Parr) has fallen in love with a clown but not the real person who is acting the part. Wingrove is also spot on as the disillusioned wife who has just tried her hand at a bit of S & M in “Nice Try” by Fred Stroppel, when she says “I thought beating you with a whip would turn me on but it didn’t.” Dan Greest is her ideal foil as the beaten husband who wants his chance at the technique but she refuses and he says, ”This is what I get for being a gentlemen and letting you go first.” Wingrove ends the discussion by snapping her notebook shut and saying, ”We‘ll be late for church.”

Each one of these nine plays has something profound to say about the dichotomy between what we think we are and reality. They are psychological portraits of human beings finding their way in society that sends so many mixed messages that we don’t know how to become who we really want to be. Most of the plays make you laugh at the juxtaposition of conservative characters thinking and doing apparently outrageous things, but some like “Broken” by James McLindon or “Borys the Rottweiler” are a scathing commentary on how poorly our ideals serve us.

“BITE ME” is a delightful evening that balances laughter and tears peppered with observations on what life has become in the modern world….There is lots of food for thought and plenty of laughter . ….. an evening well spent.