It’s 2016 people! (Just in case this disturbing and utterly bewildering fact had escaped your notice). How did it happen I hear you cry? Well, I am here to tell you….that I have no blooming idea. Seriously, about two weeks ago it was 1997 and I was a happy, carefree student wearing boot cut jeans and had never even supped a coffee, let alone a flat white. Now, they tell me I’m in my mid-thirties and people seem to keep mentioning pensions. I don’t understand, it’s like I’m meant to take this whole adult life thing seriously. Well, I resist. You hear me, I resist!
This internal crisis got me thinking. How can I keep all these heavy, responsibility driven, grown up things at bay? Suddenly, with 2015 drawing to a close, it struck me; I need more comedy in my life! I’d done fairly well for laughs in the now ‘out of vogue’ 2015, but it left me craving more. So, decision made. I declare 2016 to be myYear of Comedy. The plan is a simple one, just cram as much comedy as possible in to the next twelve months.
With the challenge laid down and a fire in the pit of my chortle canyon, my year of comedy started on New Year’s Eve, with a trip to Soho Theatre to see Bears in Space. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, I knew there’d be laughs, that lad from Game of Thrones and puppets; scabby, dirty, wretched looking little puppets. It all seemed a tad weird, which in itself, made it all the more appealing.
From the second the four performers crept on to the stage, I had a good, if somewhat bewildered feeling. The loquacious story keeper introduced himself to us and to his three gormless looking sons. This odd entourage then proceed to entertain us with a story from their vaults. The story, obviously, is Bears in Space.
Creative, energetic, hilarious and just bloody clever, these lads took over the stage with such commitment it was a rare treat. The puppets came to life in a way that left you staring intently at their faces, before remembering their human counterparts. Brilliant visual gags alongside witty dialogue and eloquent monologues to die for; I sensed a sprinkle of Blackadder in the air. As the bears fought to save themselves, their captain and ship from the evil threats surrounding them, everyone immersed themselves totally in to what felt like a theatrical labour of love.
As with all great comedy, you end up caring and I was sucked in by these dirty little bears and their quest. With multiple strange and eccentric little characters to make you smile, the guys behind the bears; Irish theatre company Collapsing Horse, launched my year of comedy off to an intergalactic start.