Bear Hug is a gleefully old-fashioned, farce about sexuality in the 21st Century. Written by Rory Mackenzie and performed by Mermaids Performing Arts Fund, it is a smart and funny, with sharp performances, and many witty laugh out loud lines and moments.
The basic plot revolves around the parents of shy university graduate Alex, and his fear of telling the love of his life how he feels, and his parents plan to infiltrate a Hallowe’en party being held in the family home, while pretending that they are away for the evening. The reason for the Alex’s parents to do this is because they suspect he is gay.
Alex on the other hand is actually straight and is in love with a girl called Sarah, whom his best friend Tim thinks is a lesbian, meanwhile Sarah’s best friend Anna believes, also, that Alex is gay. So, just like all farces, then, in which everything is fair game, larger than life, and everyone is an over the top caricature?
Well, not quite. Where the play falls down is that it overlooks the finer details that make other better farces zing.
This is because MacKenzie, hasn’t put in enough homework into the whole spectrum of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, polysexual, androgyne and undecided people, despite one of the lead characters apparently having recently attained a degree in such an area of study, and another of the characters clearly being a deeply closeted gay man.
This has robbed the very well written and funny play of a fair few twists and tricks.
On the whole, though, it is enjoyable and promising if, at times, shaky play that would have benefited from bearing with its central theme more comprehensively.