BED

Eddie, Imogen and Lena share a flat. What would otherwise be a communal living room has been turned into a third bedroom in order to save money and is taken up almost entirely by the bed. In the absence of a sofa, the bed is used variously to be sat or lain on, but other than that one sees no action.

It is odd that the lasting memories of this play seem to about the small things and that the intended substance fades away, probably because it was never well established and we never did get to ‘delve under the covers’.

There is often a mismatch at the Festival Fringe between what a company says about its production and the reality in performance – this is a classic example. BED, we are told, is ‘thought provoking and challenges what it means to be young and in a relationship in a world captivated by social media’, and that it ‘explores the surreal in the young adult’s life, navigating the line between reality and fiction in a relationship’.

In fact the play is neither ‘thought provoking’ nor ‘challenging’. As an exploration of relationships it adds nothing new to familiar and rather tired territory. Eddie and Imogen engage in a long talk about finding someone and there is a lot of discussion about the place of social media, with wordy warnings from Imogen about who the person you are chatting to might really be. Eddie on the other hand sees it as a major tool in his quest for love and thinks she should move with the times and, in particular, stop calling a phone a smartphone. A later discussion includes debates about the parable of the Good Samaritan and whether an exception can prove a rule.

It is arguable whether the relationship between Eddie and Robin only ever existed in Eddie’s head, nodding quietly to some surrealistic influences. It certainly didn’t involve the bed. In what might have been a scene that developed their characters and relationship, there is mundane questioning about whether young kids can be gay and when they first realised their own sexuality. The discussion also roams over feminism, misogyny, the role of women and standing up for them on trains. It is no wonder the relationship never got off the ground.

Nikhil Parmar successfully conveys Eddie’s obsession with phones, with much searching and texting - he is clearly skilled with his fingers. His one impassioned moment is a monologue directed to his phone in the form of a message to Joe who is not answering his calls. Much of his other delivery, however, sounds rather off the cuff and casual.

Celine Buckens as Imogen stands out as the posh one of the group and she talks a lot but her words come over as a rapidly spoken script. In contrast, Joe Shalom has a clear, measured voice and presence, despite Robin seeming to be little more than a mouthpiece. Lena is presented as the ‘been there done that’ member of the household although only minimal evidence of this emerges. She is the least developed of the characters, leaving Morgan Daniels little to work on apart from a series of pointed remarks.

It is odd that the lasting memories of this play seem to about the small things and that the intended substance fades away, probably because it was never well established and we never did get to ‘delve under the covers’. 

Reviews by Richard Beck

PRINT ROOM at THE CORONET

The Outsider (L’Étranger)

★★★★
Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Prairie Flower

★★
Jermyn Street Theatre

About Leo

★★★★
Orange Tree Theatre

Losing Venice

★★★★
The Queen's Theatre

Abi

★★★★
The Queen's Theatre

Abigail's Party

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Tragicomedy about love and sex in 2015. Overawed by the easy availability of men online, Eddie bites off more than he can chew when he hooks up with Robin for sex, forming a strong and mostly one-sided attachment with him. Robin escapes while he still can, leaving Eddie unsure whether he'll see him again. Bed delves under the covers of the life of a man flailing around for some sense of sexual identity. Bed is about finding 'the one' in a city where anonymity is prized, even in the bedroom. Is there any such thing as consequence-free sex?