Beryl

Beryl takes place in a cluttered bedsit, where the vivacious titular character runs a service that allows curious potential crossdressers to experiment with different looks. The rather grumpy oddball, Frank (Alan Rogers) has engaged these services, but Beryl (Lesley-Ann Reilly) has trouble figuring out what it is he wants. As their encounter turns from crossdressing to pseudo-therapy, Frank and Beryl discuss their pasts and what has led them to this point.

You can certainly see the potential in Beryl.

The play is an excellent model for the fate of many newly-written short plays. It is full of intriguing ideas and refreshing characters, but doesn't succeed in fleshing either of these out fully. A high point is the playwright/actor Reilly’s characterisation of Beryl: she creates an endearing, chipper and yet somehow tragic woman who clearly tries to help herself by helping others. The character drives the plot, occasionally providing the jolt of pace and energy that is needed in a play that has a tendency to collapse into sluggish or stagnant sections, which aren't helped by oddly repetitive fragments of dialogue.

The play's central problem is that is it doesn't attain the dramatic gravity that its later revelations require. The sinister edge that the company attempts to introduce falls flat, leaving Frank and Beryl’s divulgences looking an awful lot like they’re shoehorned in. We simply don't care enough about the characters. In parts, the play doesn't explore them deeply enough, while in others it goes so deep into their psyches that it feels odd that we don't have a better sense of who they are. What does Beryl exist on the stage to do? It’s not always very clear.

At Large Theatre Company state that they want to create opportunities for theatre makers to develop their craft, and you can certainly see the potential in Beryl. It is a pity that it, like Frank, cannot decide what it wants.

Reviews by Andrew Forbes

Valvona & Crolla

A Divine Comedy

★★★★
Just Festival at St John's

Hotel Europa

★★★★
Summerhall

Eurohouse

★★★★
Sweet Grassmarket

Beryl

★★★
Greenside @ Infirmary Street

A Matter of Life and Death

★★★★★
theSpace on Niddry St

Fourth Monkey's Genesis and Revelation: Sodom

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Frank, a sensitive loner, is haunted by the memories of his past. Driven by an urge to overcome these, he avails of the private cross-dressing services of Beryl. As their stories unfold, both characters must unmask themselves before the other and the true purpose of their meeting becomes clear. As both characters face painful truths about their desires and fears, a final revelation brings their conflicting energies to a dangerous point until there can only be space for one inside Beryl's rundown bedsit.

Most Popular See More

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets