Bermuda is a play that I feel throughout its runtime oscillates in quality. Some elements really work—the humour, the space, the occasional peek through the fourth wall—while others are dead on arrival—the voiceover segments, the saxophone interludes and scenes that run too long. But in the end, for all its flaws, and for the fact that the play as a whole sorta overstays its welcome, I actually enjoyed Bermuda as a whole.
For starters, it’s really funny. For a show that ran its marketing on the basis of how sensual it is, the actors certainly spend a lot of time hamming up the show’s sexuality until it becomes hilarious. I do wonder if it was devised to be that way from the start, or if the show’s approach of ‘funny sex’ just came out during the awkwardness of rehearsals. Because in truth at the start I was laughing out cringe at the ridiculous way the actors on-stage grabbed at each other—but by the end I was laughing not at them but with them. No matter how this humour originated, it felt to me like a success, and was only made better when during one hot-and-heavy scene the father of one actor yelled from the crowd: ‘That’s my boy!’
In fact the crowd as whole, actually, were very rowdy on the night I saw Bermuda. And I do think this added to my experience of the production, which leaves me needing to praise the actors’ abilities to completely detach themselves from the crowd’s remarks, and yet still somehow still feed off the room’s energy. Whether it was the wolfwhistling of the jocks whenever they had the opportunity to fetishise the lesbian displays on-stage; or the sarcastic remarks of the girl behind me who clearly disliked the production far more than I did—the actors remained resolute, and in a space that already had stuff going on, that is something to be lauded.
The script, though, isn’t quite as impressive. There are some lines here that use words like ‘vivacious’, which rarely ever feature in speech, let alone get used by characters such as those in Bermuda. The show also, as I previously mentioned, runs about fifteen minutes too long. Towards the end things begin to really drag out, and it feels like we’ve learned all we can about these characters and that we’re just watching a more-or-less predictable plot play out. But then the play’s left-field ending comes out of nowhere and almost—almost—makes the last fifteen minutes worth it. There’s a great and bizarre twist here that I honestly did not expect, and The Seeker Collective should be proud to have pulled this off as a capper to a script that I from time to time I found myself having little faith in.
Because sure, Bermuda doesn’t quite tackle head-on all the subject matter it promises in its promotion. It isn’t quite as heavy as maybe it would like to be, and it isn’t so nuanced as to be able to really describe itself as a piece concerned with the thematic ‘exploration’ it promises. But the plot here is good, and the show contains some truly great scenes and laughs, and the acting is for the most-part great. With some polish, and perhaps a resident dramaturge within The Seeker Collective, their next play could perhaps fulfil the potential that glowed so strongly during the parts of Bermuda’s runtime where everything came together.
This review is based on the reviewer’s experience of the closing-night performance on May 23.
Full disclaimer: The reviewer has worked with The Seeker Collective in the past.