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Published on November 11th, 2013 | by Darren Byrne


Theatre Review: The Bear’s Tuxedo in the Theatre Upstairs

This was a bit of a treat last week. I didn’t know much about the play, so went along with an open mind. I just barely made it in time (stupid traffic!) to the Theatre Upstairs at Lanigan’s Bar, Eden Quay, to catch Keith James Walker’s new play, The Bear’s Tuxedo.

THE BEAR’S TUXEDO takes you on a cosmic journey through the torn flamboyant fibres of one man’s being. That man is the mercurial Billy Sendoza. Billy is a gay Californian funeral director with an attachment to the arcane and a penchant for the preposterous. Join Billy as he swaps the sands of Southern California for the unforgiving scorched desert of Mexico on a journey of personal redemption.

THE BEAR’S TUXEDO is a surreal exploration of how one man’s inability to separate his dreams from reality contaminates and distorts not only his own life, but the lives of those around him.

Heaven or hell, he’ll send you there in style…

THE-BEARS-TUXEDOAnd that’s how the press release describes it. I’d ordinarily be quite critical of sesquipedalian sales pitches (yeah, I Googled that word), but in this case it’s more than forgiveable.

The play is about a man who is so wrapped up in his own self-importance and fantasy land that his loquaciousness is almost another character. He’s never quite as smart as he would like us to believe, but the language throughout the play is so delicious and Kieran Roche’s delivery of the insane dialogue is filled with such wit and confidence, that it’s hard not to get completely enamoured with his pretentiousness.

The plot is hugely convoluted and that’s fine – it just presents us with more and more wonderful opportunities to see inside the messed up head of Billy Mendoza. Roche has taken Walker’s brilliant character and turned him into something extremely dark, devilishly flawed and so so very likeable. At times a hero, at times an anti-hero, at times an outright villain, but at all times entirely engaging.

THE-BEARS-TUXEDO003For those of you who haven’t been to The Theatre Upstairs at Lanigan’s Bar, now is the perfect opportunity. It’s a lovely small venue. This one man play is perfectly performed, brilliantly directed and the lighting (by Eoghan Carrik) shows that even in a small space, innovation can produce magic.

The Bear’s Tuxedo runs until Saturday 16th November. You have the choice between a lunchtime show at 1pm (including a light lunch) and an evening show at 7pm.

1PM Performances: Tues Nov 12th – Sat Nov 16th

7PM Performances: Thurs Nov 14th- Sat Nov 16th

For bookings phone 085 7727375 or email tupstairsbookings@gmail.com.

And sure, there’s no harm following @MonkeyBackstage on Twitter or Facebook. The same goes for @TUpstairs on Twitter and Facebook.


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About the Author

Blogger, writer, movie buff, amateur dramatist and all round nice guy. When I'm not spouting about on Culch.ie, I can be found Tweeting inanities @DarrenByrne or @Culch_ie. I am the admin behind Culch.ie and if you want to contact me for anything, drop me a mail.

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