What Do Bears Eat? (Fringe 2017)

Childish Delights


As I said in my review of Cloud Avenue, I would like to note that I won’t be giving star ratings to What Do Bears Eat? and Cloud Avenue. I believe I’m in a biased position to accurately give a rating (I mean, I’m not a fan of rating systems anyway but still…) to people I know. I will instead try to deliver a review that provides some constructive critique and, of course, impartial praise. Anyway, enough lazy copypasting: let’s get to it! 

What Do Bears Eat? follows a woman who decides to live in the woods, which leads to her living with a bear. Hilarity and tragedy ensue.

The production stands firmly on the support of its characters, all who oddly complement the tagline “A children’s show for adults”. The dialogue is hilariously juvenile, nicely imitating childish illogicality, yet also hides something genuinely threatening beneath its surface. I’ll take a moment to applaud Hana Jarrah for her diverse multi-roles as well as Patch Middleton’s portrayal of ‘Dog’.

Throughout the production, there’s the notion of a deeper meaning behind the script: the complicated relationship between human and nature. I felt like this needed pushing more to make the ending more impactful. Also, some of the improvisation needed a little toning down. I’m sure it was just because it was the first night with many friends in the audience, so there is no need to dwell on it so much: perhaps just take note.

Despite this, What Do Bears Eat? is a hidden treat for those looking for an unconventional form with surprises in store. It involves some really likeable characters, and its endearing dialogue creates a nostalgia of being read a bedtime story… with a sinister touch entwined.