Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"The Bird & The Bee: The Bee" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Much as "The Bird" and "The Bee" are interlinked shows I'm afraid our thoughts on each show very much have a bearing on the other. Each show is the story of a character's path to a point where they meet the central character from the other show. It's said they can be seen as standalone shows and that is certainly the case with "The Bee". Indeed that's probably what we would recommend you do.

Presumably designed to shock and intrigue, the publicity materials (and even the Fringe Programme blurb) give away the conclusion of the characters' journeys. This does create a certain atmosphere to the piece when the audience knows where things are headed, but I think it strips the play of a potentially powerful moment of revelation.

Matt Hartley's script is filled with moments of pain but also include some well observed touches of humour. The performances of Tom Ferguson, Sarah Sweeney and James Yeatman in various roles provide a substantial foundation for Rebecca Whitehead who is outstanding as Chloe. She successfully combines the simultaneous youth and maturity of the character in a way that makes the whole believable. There is a real depth and intensity to her performance.

Having seen this show I was happy that it was self-contained if I needed it to be, but having enjoyed it I was looking forward to seeing the other side of the story. We'll say more about "The Bird" separately but I want to mention here about the impact seeing it had on my views of "The Bee". It left me feeling a bit cheated to be honest and wishing that they had simply taken a 10 minute section from it and included it with "The Bee" to create a complete work.

So, here's my advice if you are considering seeing these shows:
- If you've seen "The Bee" and are thinking about seeing "The Bird" read what we thought first (but do get someone who has seen it to tell you the interesting bit)
- if you've not seen either yet, do go and see "The Bee"
- if you've seen "The Bird" then definitely go and see "The Bee"

The Bee runs at Underbelly until the 24th August at 2.40pm