REVIEW: LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS (N16 Theatre) ★★★★

lions__tigers__bears_3076_665x375_20160914

LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS is a comedy review played out by five gloriously energetic, crazy, young performers. It contains (as they say on television) scenes of a sexual nature and mild’ish bad language and is all the better for it. Georgia Wilkinson’s impression of a cupboard should be a part of the curriculum of every drama school!

The production begins with the cast busting moves (dancing wildly in modern parlance ) in their pyjamas wearing horror masks. Each scene is started with a hand written A4 sign giving the date and useful information. It was then placed on display on a chair, from which it inevitably blew off.

The three young actresses involved Chloe Borthwick, Sally Morton and Georgia Wilkinson and two young actors Joshua Young and Reece Connolly gave their considerable all and showed a lot of potential. They all have great warmth and are very funny. Definitely names to look out for in the future.

I should also mention the lovely anonymous Musical Director, in the sound box, dressed in a blue fluffy Shark onesie who kept everything moving along nicely. So cute.

LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS is funny and quirky as well as being, at times, in the worse possible taste. It is wonderfully crazy and totally hilarious, bordering on deranged. It is thoroughly un-wholesome and in no way could you consider it family entertainment. It is completely unsuitable for children of any age. But, it really is unmissable for any adult with a sense of humour.

Each member of the cast played a number of, often contradictory, characters from children to parents, police officers to a cupboard, zoo inmates to Adolph Hitler and many more. The time period stretches from food rationing in the Second World War to a dystopian future where Donald Trump has become the American president. Now that is scary.

LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS presents a number of sketches that could be broadly grouped under the heading of “if you don’t do as I tell you, he will come and get you”. Whether ‘He’ is Mr Hitler or the Bogey Man or whoever, the message, through the years, has been the same. The warnings are embedded in every nursery fable and every Disney cartoon. The message to your “loved” ones is keep in line or a terrible brutal monster will come and steal you away.

This play features 5 actors conjuring up more than 40 characters between them. Not that I actually counted of course.

Much of the musical tracks accompanying the sketches were minor (and very minor in some cases) classics. Sammy Davis Jr. singing The KandyMann for example or Muse performing Knights of Cydonia. All good fun though.

Red Cape Black Cape’s return to Theatre N16 is well worth the wait. Last time they appeared, they apparently presented a double bill of a Tarantino-esque version of Winnie the Pooh followed by a bureaucratic take on Dante’s Inferno. I am not surprised – they really are very original.

LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS was written and directed by the talented Reece Connolly who is also credited with playing The KandyMann, Constable Legion and Chorus Girl #2. No chance of him being type cast then.

The N16 Theatre is located upstairs in the, very traditional, Bedford Pub, in Balham. It is a small comfortable venue and well worth a visit.

Reviewed by Graham Archer