Time at the Bar!

Beardman production Time At The Bar was written and directed by Kieran Mellish and follows the story of The Duck’s Beak pub, whose future is uncertain. By their own admission, they need to improve or close up, promising their customers the five ‘C’s’ – comfort, company, and class, with the addition of cholera and chlamydia on disco nights.

It certainly has legs as a radio series.​

The central character is owner Gary (Kieran Mellish), who introduces the scene and the rest of the characters – almost too many for a show running to just fifty minutes. His manager Darren lacks confidence, his son is hopeless and his wife a shambolic alcoholic. Gary does get help from his daughter Claire but, when you add her egotistical sex-mad boyfriend Tristan (a wannabe pop star), the plot thickens. 

The story takes off when the only hope for the pub to thrive is through a review from the local newspaper – whose journalist they collectively hope to impress. Rosie Hague, Joseph Thomas, Ellie Shields, Theo Jewitt, Thomas Hampton and Abi Owoseje complete the line up.

With laughs along the way we get a share of music, slapstick and clever characterisation, skilfully written with good comic timing. They manage the small stage space well and work well together. Timing is important here and the hard work by the company has paid off with precision. 

They seem to enjoy the experience too and taking this original college play to the Fringe shows company potential. They are able to capture the characters – all stereotypes of course but, given the time restrictions, admirably done. Mellish in particular keeps it all together and has a hint of early Ricky Gervais in his mannerisms but, given the work in bringing this to the stage, he shows great promise. Maybe not a TV sitcom this year, but it certainly has legs as a radio series.

Reviews by John Murray

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The Blurb

Welcome to The Duck's Beak! This struggling Kentish pub is where you'll meet Gary the landlord as he attempts to strike order among the chaos on the most important day in the pub's history. After a phone call from the local paper, Gary is forced to employ his alcoholic wife and moronic son in order to impress a reviewer and restore the soiled reputation of The Duck's Beak. Throw into the mix Gary's daughter Claire, his assistant manager Darren and Claire's egomaniac boyfriend Tristan and it's going to be a hard day's work.