Theatre Review: Polar Bears @ Donmar

Pretty much every man, woman and child in Britain has read/studied/heard of this book:

It’s actually one of the few books I’ve read in recent years, it’s unconventional and it’s got drawings and the chapters are in prime numbers! How zany. On a serious note, it’s about Asperger syndrome and is an interesting as well as enjoyable look at the condition.

Anyway, the guy who wrote that book has written a play. It’s called Polar Bears and the clue is sort of in the title (although apparently unintentionally) –  it’s about bipolar disorder amongst other things.

Without giving anything away, the brilliant things about this play were:

  • Charming, bite-size insights into dramatic and frayed family relationships. (Not in an Eastenders way, in a fascinating and cool way!)
  • A philosophy lecture.
  • Fast paced directional style in which we see cutting between mismatched nonlinear scenes.
  • Graphic and scientific descriptions of decaying bodies.
  • A new and often true depiction of Jesus.

Not so brilliant:

  • A clichéd and often false depiction of Jesus.
  • Tendency to go on a bit in one segment about a fairytale.

Cool play though. I once watched a play called The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Nielson, and although it was much more fantastical than this play, they both fundamentally ask a similar question, should a mentally ill person take the pills and live a potentially second rate life, or stop taking them and live in the playground of the imagination (along with it’s nightmares)?

Haddon’s play also focused on a husband’s duty/obligation/desire to help his wife in sickness and in health. It was touching to see such a display of affection (at points) and to see where it can lead.

One thought on “Theatre Review: Polar Bears @ Donmar

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Theatre Review: Polar Bears @ Donmar « The Blewog Blog -- Topsy.com

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