Bitter (Fringe 2018)

Sweet as Pie

A hidden edge in watching your friends’ performances is, subconsciously, you start the show liking the characters: they are being played by your mates, after all. Nevertheless, Bitter expertly moulds such a loveable relationship between two characters, that there is no chance you’ll leave the theatre feeling anything other than heartfelt affection.

Bitter follows housemates Rose (Stella Ryley) and Leila (Georgia Carney) as they recall how their friendship came to be and the shenanigans that entail.

The two-woman cast has fantastic chemistry. Leila’s confident yet introspective character entwines (and sometimes conflicts) well with Rose’s bubbly, brash nature. Both Carney and Ryley riff off each other with ease, making the most of the witty script that comments on the quirks of friendship while also tackling the very controversial and heated debate of Bake Off’s Bingate.

The set is simplistic, cleverly connoting how comfortable Rose and Leila are together through the messiness of strewn clothes and the proudly-presented wall of happy photos.

The production would have benefitted if the main conflict came in sooner, possibly as a catalyst to why both women are reminiscing about their shenanigans and the blossoming of their relationship. The conflict in question, however, has enough stakes to threaten the two women’s relationship that the audience has grown to love; it’s a well-incorporated edge. Another pointer to smoothen out is to add some sort of cue when characters flit between monologues and scenes, just to ward off any confusion as to where the audience is in the story.

Bitter unearths the irrational fears of relationships, feeling lost, and birds. Everyone will find something they can directly link to their own lives. No Door’s Theatre successfully reinforces the beauty of companionship and the power it has to conquer anything that modern life throws.

Tickets available here.