One The Bear
By Candy Bowers and Busty Beatz
Presented by La Boite, Campbelltown Arts Centre and Black Honey Company
Season runs to October 21. Running time one hour. Bookings: www.laboite.com.au
What happens when you mix a room full of young adults and teens in an almost full house growling at the stage, yowling and screaming in shared delight? A “fairytale” story about the rise and fall of fame with bears. Yes, bears. But these are not your fluffy teddy bear kind.
In La Boite’s current show, One the Bear, is something a little different from most shows I have seen. In fact it is a unique hybrid of hip hop and cabaret, and it works. This show is the kind of theatre that breaks boundaries and new ground.
Presented by La Boite, Campbelltown Arts Centre and Black Honey Company, One the Bear follows the story of a pair of bears called One and Ursula. Beginning with a look into their friendship, it spins a complex and powerful tale of the price of fame, with One becoming a super star, and a healthy dose of didactic lessons, hidden and not so hidden allegories.
Written and composed by sister duo Candy Bowers, co-artistic director of Black Honey Company, and Busty Beatz it raises some serious questions about race, race appropriation, grief, female empowerment, the trials and tribulations faced by minorities and the cost of becoming famous, in the way it changes a person.
Purportedly using case studies such as Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson and Lil’ Kim you can see it has very real and relatable undertones.
The casting was exceptionally well done. With One the Bear masterly performed by Candy Bowers as One and Nancy Denis as Ursula these messages and questions were conveyed in a manner that was easy to digest, yet by no means sugar coated. With a healthy mix of catchy tunes and sharp hip hop moves, all against a colourful screen and interactive set, it made for an impressive sight.
I found this production to be captivating and stimulating. The energy of the actors was high throughout the entire hour performance and the charisma of Bowers and Denis thoroughly drew us in.
Though this play was designed for the next generation of young people I still found it completely relatable and thought provoking. However there are references to drugs and faecal matter – I mean come on, it’s about animals! The show also makes use of haze and strobe lighting as well as sudden and loud noises.
What One the Bear does is not just act out a play; it acts out life, a life that is very real. For those of you wanting to be challenged, questioned and thrilled, look no further than La Boite this next week.