Having seen both of this play’s actors in previous productions, I was excited to be able to review their most recent work in the preview of Beaker’s Place, produced by Only Lucky Dogs Theatre Company, at DINA on Thursday 19 July.
The play centres around Beaker, the owner of a pub which hosts an illegal body disposal service in its cellar, and a final delivery he receives while he is in the process of trying to take his own life, following the death of his cat, Paul.
As soon as I took my seat in the very small and cosy venue, I was enthralled by the set design; the table with a gun atop, Paul’s ashes on the display cabinet, and not least the noose in the corner. This made it abundantly clear before the play had even begun that it would touch upon sensitive topics, and this was confirmed when we were first introduced to Beaker, writing down plentiful ideas of the least painful ways to meet his demise.
These sensitive topics were drawn upon in such a way which made you forget of their taboo nature due to the comedy that came along with it. I found myself laughing before I even had chance to feel uncomfortable, which is everything you want from a dark comedy. These laughs were delivered in a flawless mixture of intricately thought out monologues, and perfectly fast-paced dialogue between Beaker and his new found acquaintance, Drew.
The stage was small, yet the cast rose to the challenge of having such little space to work with by ensuring they covered every square inch of the floor, as well as standing on chairs and even making use of acting backstage.
As well as the excellent writing, acting, and set design, this play’s sound design flourished too. Sound effects and music were used appropriately and effectively throughout, especially through an instantly recognisable 80s song.
The lighting was rather minimalistic but was still achieved perfectly in such a small space through highlighting lamps and a conclusive blackout.
Beaker’s Place is an exceptionally funny, original and well written play. It deserves to sell out its run at the Edinburgh Fringe and go on to do very well beyond that. You will leave the theatre enthralled in the world of Beaker’s Place, and with Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’ in your head all day.