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No Picnic - Tabard Theatre (Review)

No Picnic, Tabard Theatre

Review by Shanna Schreuder

NO Picnic is a totally bizarre tale of a teddy bears’ picnic gone horribly wrong. Bursting with witty dialogue and boasting outstanding performances, this new play by Greg Freeman is a real gem.

The play opens with two cowering teddy bears, Ludovic and Julius, who have got themselves in a spot of bother and are hiding out from the law while they look for their missing companion, Alfie, another teddy bear.

In this fantasy world it’s the clowns who run the show, which is why they’re in such a pickle as their party in the wood resulted in the “accidental” death of Bobo, a well-connected clown.

Torn between following their code to honour the truth (a statement stitched on their underwear) and their natural instinct to stay alive, the teddies have to learn how to lie in order to dodge the hangman’s noose.

Enter the weird doll Greta, an expert truth-bender, who will help them break their life-long tradition if they bring her Bobo’s liver. Of course, things don’t go to plan, as Ludovic and Julius bring the wrong body part and cross paths with a clown who must have read the Stasi handbook on interrogation techniques!

Not designed for children, No Picnic seeks to question the meaning of truth, an issue that has been discussed by philosophers and scholars over thousands of years, as well as highlight women’s obsession with looking young and slim and poking fun at politicians.

Dan Frost as Ludovic and James Sygrove as Julius skilfully use their heavy costume to adopt the slow mannerism of bears to make the audience giggle, while their tone and timing ensure the laughter continues to flow, Helen Russell-Clark’s portrayal of Greta is stunning and seductive, and finally, but by no means least, Rhys King’s clown is totally mesmerising. His intense eyes, controlled voice and striking movements cast a spell over everyone and is truly thrilling to watch.

View production photos

Tabard Theatre
From Mar 20 – April 7, 2012
Tue – Sat 7:30pm
Special Sunday Matinee
Sun, March 25 performance at 2:30pm
Tickets £14/£12