The Diary of a Nobody at the White Bear
Just yards away from Kennington tube station, the White Bear hosts The Diary of a Nobody, the fictional diary of Charles Pooter, a clerk in late-Victorian London.
Upon approaching, you would be forgiven for thinking that the White Bear is nothing more than a regular drinking haunt for local clientele. That is until you are graciously ushered to an intimate theatre just behind a fully decked bar. Uniquely decorated with shades of white, grey and black resembling cardboard cut-outs, the setting is reminiscent of an animated, comical sketch priming you for a rip-roaring, entertaining evening.
The play consists of some thirty characters divided amongst six actors, two of whom portray the two main characters, Charles Pooter (Jake Curran) and his wife Carrie Pooter (Jordan Mallory-Skinner). It sounds confusing, but director Mary Franklin and her actors execute the character changes with sheer brilliance, given the limited budget and space.
The Diary begins on 3rd April with Charles Pooter introducing Carrie Pooter and their friends as the affairs of the day unfold. Redundant actors stand inconspicuously in turn under lit lampshades, imitating Pooter’s diarised light bulb reflections. In rather manic style – albeit well-paced which consummately adds to the fierce humour – the next 15 months are played out.
A pattern is set from the beginning whereby the small vexations of the Pooters’ daily lives are recounted, many of them arising from Pooter’s unconscious self-importance and pomposity. Trouble with servants, tradesmen and office juniors occur regularly, along with minor social embarrassments and humiliations.
Quirky and original, this play will not disappoint. The actors are charming in their approach and engagement, creating a personal connection between stage and audience. Curran plays a great host and bridges the gap between haughtiness and warmth, whilst Geordie Wright is delightfully funny as Sarah and Daisy and side-splitting as the spiritualist. It’s fair to say Wright and Curran were the stars of the show: Curran demonstrates an accomplished ability to absorb and Wright demonstrates an innate comical characterisation.
So, easy-going, so enjoyable, Franklin’s The Diary of a Nobody is evocative of being in the Tuscan region of Italy – relaxed, delightful and charming. It is emphatically easy to forget that you are seated in the White Bear in the heart of South London. That is until the lights go out and the drinks roll in.
The Diary of a Nobody is at the White Bear until 21st June 2014. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for The Diary of a Nobody here: