I am a little worried that there comes a point in Anthony Neilson's plays where he gives up on his strange (sometimes fantastical) but compelling narrative and does something really odd like bringing on Teddy Bears that demand imaginary cups of tea. I didn't think this play lived on much past the Teddy Bears, the author still had enough to produce a coup-de-theatre at the end but it almost felt that he lost interest in the original story and just wanted to end it.
The play is scripted as a recreation of Victorian travelling show and depicting the last ever performance. Edward Gant, our showman and his troupe of three actors, replay stories from Gant's life or rather stories that were told to Gant on his travels.
While I would have liked to see many more of these “feats of loneliness” (there were only two stories of this kind) I don't want it t sound too much of a complaint. After all the Teddy Bears were excellent, if anachronistic (play set in 1880s, Teddy Bears invented 1900s) but I greatly enjoyed the inventiveness of the 'feats' stories and thought there was a shortage of others.
As seems inevitable I also wanted to know a lot more about the characters of the participants in the performance. We get suggestions of tensions and the 'real' lives of the troupe towards the end of the play. It is done in a way that tries to pretend the the breaking of the fourth wall is deliberate but might not be. I'm not not certain that this was successful.
Reading back over this I realise that I haven't made it absolutely clear that I had a good time. I did. Honest