Sarah Blake fears for her life watching UCLU Drama Society’s Bunker
UCLU Drama Society moved slightly away from the confines of the Bloomsbury campus over the past couple of nights for their latest production, Bunker, performed in the Etcetera theatre above of the Oxford Arms pub in Camden. Bunker is a black comedy written by the Macpherson brothers and is about a small group of people who find themselves in a bunker together. This is to avoid being eaten by cannibals, or ‘mentally ill people’, according to the Polly, the annoyingly enthusiastic American Ranger in the bunker.
The comedy is indeed very dark, with jokes constantly being made at the expense of Luke, an extremely sensitive soul, and his girlfriend, who is bleeding to death in the bathroom. They are begrudgingly welcomed into the bunker by its creator, Margot, who asks everyone probing questions before letting them into her underground haven, which is filled with numerous cans of lychees, the boardgame Cluedo, and little else. The other characters are a brash, burnout twenty-something and a young girl who creepily predicts the others’ horoscopes and terrifies the other characters with her mystic-Meg style premonitions. These characters are generally all very annoying, which makes the audience feel even more dread at the thought of being stuck in a bunker for a prolonged time with them. They are all exaggerations of what these type of people would be like in real life, which I understand is probably done for comic effect, as real life people have less of interest to say than exaggerated versions of themselves. The actors all performed very well, with a particularly believable performance from Nora (Megan Alicia), who closed off the first half with a creepy monologue directed straight at the audience.
After Luke’s dying girlfriend is bitten by one of the five, and shortly afterwards another one of the characters is murdered, the play turns even darker and constantly has the audience questioning ‘whodunnit’, like a real life game of Cluedo. The twist that comes towards the end is unpredictable; no guesses from the audience at the interval seemed to predict the right outcome.
The play is well written and keeps the audience gripped throughout, with only a few slightly slower moments that have you willing it to move forward at a slightly faster pace. After watching Bunker I would definitely be keen to see what other works the Macpherson brothers write in the future.