Review: The Off Key, White Bear Theatre

A striking new musical that revels in the bittersweet nature of its examination of love, The Off Key hits the right notes at the White Bear Theatre

“I’ve been thinking a lot about narratives lately. And the stories we tell ourselves, y’know? Who’s right and who’s wrong? Anyway. This song is called Are You Leaving Me Or Are You Just Being A C**t?”

Some relationships just f*ck you up. Such is the one between Sam and Olivia that lies at the heart of new musical The Off Key. Friends on the singer-songwriter gig circuit, he’s long been in love with her but can only tell her (inadvertently) through the medium of song, specifically his newest song ‘I Like You, Break Up with Your Boyfriend for Me’. Thus starts an intense affair that is destined to only ever end one way…

Writer and performer Scott Mackie utilises the gig format well to inform his musical, packing worlds of passion and pain not only into the bluntly confessional songs but also into their brief introductions, the gig patter here is some of the most brutally funny I’ve heard in a good while. And as they shag and split, cheat and come back together, the emotional toll of this tumultuous relationship shapes their creative response. Continue reading “Review: The Off Key, White Bear Theatre”

Review: After(s), White Bear Theatre

The perils of midweek drinking writ large – After(s) examines what it means to be in your mid-twenties today at the White Bear Theatre in Kennington

“You’re an inspiration – you made a strap-on out of a banana”

It’s a little known truth that when two men kiss for the first time, Dolly Parton will start playing. Or so Scott Mackie and Santino Smith would have you believe in a witty moment early on in their new play After(s). It’s also a bit of a misdirect as where you think you might be getting a play that explores sexuality, it soon shifts that onto the back-burner as it delves into other issues.

The play is mainly an exploration of how no good can come from mid-week drinking, when recklessness crashes into responsibilities. Andy has just finished a long day in the office when he bumps into his best-friend-from-high-school-back-in Paisley-Yog and as a catch-up pint turns into shots into clubbing into afterpartying, the carefully ordered pieces of his London life come tumbling down around him in the most farcical of manners. Continue reading “Review: After(s), White Bear Theatre”