Victoria Fringe Festival 2017 – After the Beep
Review by Hugo Wong – Showbill.ca Guest Writer
August 28, 2017
Memories of teenage awkwardness can bring you either warmth or chills, so Pamela Bethel’s After the Beep is not for everyone. But if you can look back without cringing too hard, After the Beep can be a reminder of how similar adolescence can be from generation to generation.
Some of Bethel’s stories are hilariously dated (late night calls from payphones, collecting fees as a Blockbuster employee) but with a few small changes, these stories could apply to any child of middle-class, North American suburbia. Her high school life, like so many others, featured late-night adventures, minor rule-breaking, and too many extra-curriculars. The crackly voices on those tapes told stupid inside jokes, hemmed and hawed, and tried to play it cool. Her “archivist” tendencies provided a wealth of source material beyond the tapes, and her meticulousness brought the house down on several occasions.
Not much has changed since the show premiered at Victoria’s Uno Fest earlier this year. Bethel still sits behind a table with her laptop, and while more elaborate staging would not mesh with her matter-of-fact delivery, it could stand to look as intimate the story sounded. The words in the old messages are indiscernible at times, and it ran a little longer than it needed to. However, Bethel’s willingness to expose her teenage self is something very few of us would dare, and the honesty with which it was told clearly connected with the crowd.
THE BOTTOM LINE
After the Beep is an unadorned, honest portrayal of adolescence perfect for the theatregoer willing to face theirs as well.
Pamela Bethel in association with Theatre SKAM
Created by Karin Atkinson and Jeffery Hoffman
Victoria Fringe Festival
Venue 2 (Downtown Community Centre)
- Aug 31 @ 10:00pm
- Sept 2 @ 8:45pm
- Sept 3 @ 12:30pm