‘Deeply touched’: BE PREPARED – Vault Festival #Vault2018

In Festivals, London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Ian FosterLeave a Comment

The Vaults, London

What is the right way to grieve? Is there even such a thing? Ian Bonar’s Be Prepared throws up such questions as we meet Tom, and by extension Mr Chambers, who are having a tough time of it.

Tom is mourning the death of his father, Mr Chambers the loss of his wife, but thing is, they don’t know each other. The only reason they’re in contact is because the elderly Mr Chambers keeps mis-dialling Tom, thinking he is a funeral director.

And as writer/performer Bonar takes to the stage in a brilliantly conceived opening, we get to see how this accidental meeting develops into something of a life-raft for the pair of them, a way of starting to process the discombobulation that accompanies the death of a loved one.

The shots of weird dark humour that pop up in the most unexpected of places, the strange comfort that comes from unburdening to someone who doesn’t know you, the distressing weight that feels like it will never lift.

With director and dramaturg Rob Watt, Bonar has fashioned a densely packed monologue, which often apes this disorientating effect. It weaves together three strands – Tom’s own account of how his father’s death has affected him, his interactions with the endearing Mr Chambers, and also his boyhood time in the cubs and scouts – and flits between them endlessly.

Bonar’s consummate skill as a performer means you’re deeply touched but the overall impact proves a little relentless, even if this is the intention.

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Ian Foster
Since 2003, Ian Foster has been writing reviews of plays, sometimes with a critical element, on his blog Ought to Be Clowns, which has been listed as one of the UK's Top Ten Theatre Blogs by Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak. He averages more than 350+ shows a year. He says: "Call me a reviewer, a critic or a blogger, and you will apparently put someone or other's nose out of joint! So take it or leave it, essentially this is my theatrical diary, recording everything I go to see at the theatre in London and beyond, and venturing a little into the worlds of music and film/TV where theatrical connections can be made."
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Ian Foster on FacebookIan Foster on Twitter
Ian Foster
Since 2003, Ian Foster has been writing reviews of plays, sometimes with a critical element, on his blog Ought to Be Clowns, which has been listed as one of the UK's Top Ten Theatre Blogs by Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak. He averages more than 350+ shows a year. He says: "Call me a reviewer, a critic or a blogger, and you will apparently put someone or other's nose out of joint! So take it or leave it, essentially this is my theatrical diary, recording everything I go to see at the theatre in London and beyond, and venturing a little into the worlds of music and film/TV where theatrical connections can be made."