Spoiler alert: there are no bears in the play “bare”

Conor Bartol, Bearly There

My “bare” review in brief: I can barely bear the lack of bears in “bare.”

Illustration by M Hu.

I have only myself to blame. When I reviewed a sneak preview of the new school play, “bare,” I was expecting something of the ursine variety, not a Catholic school coming-of-age story. I never saw the title in writing until afterwards, and then I realized my folly.

That being said, it’s not fair for me to review the musical based on what I wanted it to be. I have to take it as it is. So, a proper review: it was pretty good. Fun songs.

I’m sorry, I just can’t get it out of my head. “bare” rhymes with bear. Big mammals, furry guys, large claws, chompin’ on salmon and berries. Grizzly, black, polar and panda too. So many kinds of bears. A musical about those furry guys would have been so cool!

Just imagine half a dozen actors dancing in bear costumes, singing about hibernation, honeycombs and eating food improperly stashed by hikers. I can’t be the only one thinking about the creative potential of this idea.

Every time I tell someone about this, they look at me like I’ve lost my damn mind. But I haven’t, I just really like bears. When I was watching “bare,” I entered a hallucinatory fugue state and saw the humans onstage morph into the bears of my youth: Smokey, Fozzie and Winnie the Pooh. Even now, I see bears frolicking wherever I go.

Sorry, got off topic again. My favorite song in the musical was “The Bare Necessities,” in which Baloo sings about how … oh, no. That was “The Jungle Book,” wasn’t it? It seems the “bare” songs have quite fled my mind, supplanted by yet more bear songs. Did you know a group of bears is called a sleuth?

Oh dear, it’s getting worse. I should wrap this up now. In summary, as a musical, “bare” is a ten out of ten. Alas, as a bear musical, it scores a dismal zero.