Bad Advice

Bad Advice is a play about ridding yourself of the inner monologues that stop you moving forward.  We all have them to greater or lesser extents.  Written by Eli Keren, and performed by Bear Trap Productions, this is a great play for the Greater Manchester Fringe, here performed at Twenty Twenty Two.  It’s one of those locations that has a wonderful atmosphere despite occasional noise spill from the bar and table tennis areas.

Jim (Ryan Monk) battles with three internal monologues, the Good (Millicent Thomas), the Bad (Laura Anderson) and the one that keeps reminding him of all the mistakes he’s made in the past (Tom Feasby).  As each of these is played by a physical actor, this gives the company the opportunity for some really well choreographed and funny physical theatre, as they follow Jim through his story.  The play really comes into its own when it becomes a little surreal with internal monologue characters swapping place with other people, and Jim himself, to highlight sexual dilemmas and desires.

Jim, quite introverted and ill at ease with his world, is looking for his first gay relationship, and meets Paul (Macaulay Cooper) at a bus stop, although he has little clue about the rules and norms of this new world.  ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ fumble through, making up the rules badly.  ‘Good’ has the motherly caution of his ex-grilfriend.  It’s not quite clear where ‘Bad’ comes from and it would have been interesting to explore Jim’s past further; ‘Bad’ gets many of the best lines.  The voice of the past tells him he’ll fail at everything he tries, and is wonderfully fatalistic and self deprecating in this approach.  But of course we can’t see the future through the lens of the past, and Jim slowly starts to see this.

Although the script occasionally lapses into railing against stereotypes, this is a really well written and performed play that gives the company a chance to mix spoken word and physical theatre to address a topic that will be relevant to anyone who has ever felt that they weren’t in control of their own world.  Well worth seeing.

Twenty Twenty Two, Sunday July 23 and 30 (2pm and 7.30pm).

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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