Capital Fringe Review: ‘Beef Encounter’ by Grace Kim

DC Metro Theatre Arts

July 17, 2012   Grace Kim

http://www.dcmetrotheaterarts.com/2012/07/17/capital-fringe-review-beef-encounter-by-grace-kim/

Take pause from your daily grind and go on a walking holiday with Belinda Donovan (Claire Carroll, and writer of the play) as she walks through the English countryside. Becoming lost as her husband Richard and other traveling “friends” Julie and Jules forge ahead, Belinda decides to take a break in a pasture where cows are grazing and doing whatever English cows do in the countryside. For Belinda, it becomes the perfect place for some therapy as she reflects on her life and the horridness of a walking holiday, for bloody sakes she’d much rather be on a cruise or other some such more luxurious holiday.

As she starts to place her rucksack down and spread out her items for a little picnic break, Belinda continues her witty quips and complaints about her immediate surroundings and life situation while drinking coffee from her ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ mug. Finding humor in finding herself in a pasture of cows and realizing her audience are the cows she’s facing, she quips that this is what being an actor in front of an audience must feel like – followed immediately by lines like “…to kobe or not to kobe…” and deadpan delivery of jokes like, “What do you get from pampered cows? Spoiled milk.” Even through lines like these, the delivery is still beautiful thanks to her British accent–doesn’t everything sound just so nice said in British?

As the monologue progresses, we learn Belinda has been married for 15 years to Richard, sometimes derogatorily called Dick, and that things aren’t going so well in their marriage. In fact, this walking holiday was Richard’s idea to “refresh their relationship.” But to Belinda, it’s just exhausting and the most un-fun thing anyone could do for a vacation.  Ohh, she’s mad about this idea and we know it through her sarcasm, but interestingly, it’s exactly this horrid walking holiday that helps Belinda come to a realization about herself that leaves her feeling stronger and empowered by the end of this break. Cows, apparently, make for great listeners and though Belinda thought she needed someone to listen and give her advice…. what she realizes has always been inside her.  She just needed to find it.

Beef Encounter, beautifully delivered by British actor and writer Claire Carroll, will charm your American socks off. It’s udderly delightful!

 


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