Search This Blog

Saturday, 9 November 2013

A theatre visit - 'Coward' at the White Bear Theatre

Last week I was able to attend 'Coward' from the Just Some Theatre Company written by one of tutors in the Media Department, James Martin Charlton The White Bear Theatre is a smaller theatre very near Kennington tube known for introducing theatre productions or in their own promotional words…

"The White Bear Theatre is an award-winning, off-West End venue, only 2 minutes walk from Kennington Underground and just 4 stops from Leicester Square (on the Northern Line)."

The plays runs until tomorrow (there is still a chance to go on the 10th) but will hopefully have a life beyond this venue or a return to the White Bear Theatre in future.

Produced by Just Some Theatre Company.
Directed by Terence Mann.
Written by James Martin Charlton.

Actors - in order of appearance 
Peter Stone - Cole
Jake Urry - Noël
Josh Taylor - Leonard Marlowe

Four of us went including Wendy who is an experienced London theatre goer. The play set out an episode in a fictionalised about Noël Coward, his 'personal assistant' butler like aide named Cole (who was also a Leonard but could not call himself so) and Leonard a young actor who must submit to Cowards demands for intimacy to climb the ladder of success in 1930's theatre. 

The play was well executed for the four of us by the three young actors. We all felt that the repartee, especially in the earlier part of the play, was written well and quite funny. The review from Wicker at Timeout (2013) describes the play as a "chamber piece" and there is the feeling that the play is one of harmony and disharmony between the players. We felt that Noël character had some very good lines that could have been given a bit more time to resonate as they did much to show the ebullient nature of Coward at his height of power in the 30's; in other words we knew the Coward character was a bit overwhelming but as an audience we appreciate well written innuendo and a bit of a laugh. McGillivray (20013) suggests that is because the historical links to Coward's real life have been changed, however we as an audience were aware that this was a fictionalised account of Coward's character so that point is up to the author. The point of seeing such a legendary character as a younger self was embedded into the plot. However it is interesting to think about these connections in terms of the play's themes. Power was a theme that came out in the play as the complexities of the plot emerged, and the three main characters rounded their fresh beginnings with an intense stare into the reality of the social divides of 1930's England and the upcoming european conflict of WWII. 

The only set prop I would have changed? I would have put more bubbles in the champaign (sparkling water of course)! This was because the set came right up to the audience and we became quite involved in the objects that showcased the 1930's time period - the dressing table, typewriter, phone, radio, cigarettes (theatrical ones) and the back wall which changed shape with the scene changes. However, another point on which McGillivray (2013) does not agree about the way some of the props were integrated into the scenes. Less is more on a small set, we thought the props worked to set the scene.

I bought the small booklet with the words of the play, wonderful when you can do this. As a stage enthusiast, it is interesting to compare the words to the performance onstage. 

Here is a few reviews:

Wicker, Tom (2013) Timeout, online, Available from:

BWWW Newsdesk (2013) Broadwayworld, online. Available from:

McGillivray, David (2013) Gay Times, online. Available from:

The Public Review (20013) blog post, online. Available from:

No comments:

Post a Comment