Tastelessly Titled "Eco-play" Fails to Make its Point

Penny Flood is disappointed by F*ck The Polar Bears at the Bush Theatre

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After the string of really good plays at The Bush, this tastelessly titled new work comes as a big disappointment.

It's a clumsy muddle of ideas that swing uneasily between farce and melodrama, and any serious points that writer Tanya Ronder is trying to make are touched on, only briefly at the end.

Cliché ridden and bordering on the ridiculous, it's centred on a deeply unpleasant couple Gordon (Andrew Whipp) and Serena (Susan Stanley) who live a charmed life with all the benefits that an enormous salary brings.

He's the boss of an energy company that's about to go into fracking and she's a discontented rich bitch whose whole life revolves around their bigger and better new house and her figure, which she obsesses over almost to the point of body dysmorphia.

Enter Icelandic au pair Brunhilde (Salome R. Gunnarsdottir), an aggressive eco-warrior who's experimenting with lesbianism and vegetarianism (only five days a week). And Clarence (Jon Foster), Gordon's brother, a recovering drug addict, who's doing a bit of decorating for them. It goes without saying that Clarence's wife maybe fat and lacking in the looks department but he's happier with her than Gordon is with the skinny, beautiful Serena.

The theme running throughout the play is the search for a toy polar bear called Phoebe, which, along with an escaped hamster, finally unhinges Gordon , turning him into a potty-mouthed, knife wielding maniac.

And, if that wasn't enough, strange things keep happening for no apparent reason; a champagne glass shatters, lights go on and off and the phone doesn't charge, and don't get them started on the way the loo flushes.

Finally, Serena and Gordon start agonising over the effect their life style will have on the environment and the sort or world their daughter will inherit. It could have been an interesting discussion but it comes too late to redeem what is a rather pointless production.

F*ck The Polar Bears continues at the Bush until October 24. Buy tickets online or call the box office on 020 8743 5050, open on Monday to Saturday from midday till 8pm.


September 22, 2015