Culture Theatre

Review | Camp Be Yourself

By Anna Whitfield

Camp be yourself is a short yet sweet play about two women who return to their beloved summer camp ten years later, but this time as camp councillors. The two-woman play, written and performed by two Royal welsh college of music and drama graduates, shows the characters struggling to come to terms with the harsh realities and complexities of adulthood. The play successfully delivers moments of erratic and absurd humour, whilst still including a lot of theatrical devices and twists we know and love (don’t worry, I won’t give you any spoilers).

To begin, the venue itself was a back room at Porter’s Cardiff, a quirky pub with a lot of character. My friend and I were welcomed at the theatre door by the two female protagonists of the show, and I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I deliberately didn’t look into the play too much as I wanted a completely unbiased opinion of the play. So, when I was greeted by the actors themselves, I thought to myself, oh god, this is going to be some kind of thespy interactive play, and I’m just going to sit here uncomfortably and cringe for an hour and a half.

I can honestly say, I was pleasantly surprised. Camp be yourself is a fresh twist on the sit com concept of ‘struggling with adulthood’, presenting two polar opposite characters who both struggle with life in their own ways. My favourite part of the play is when they are unable to say the sentence ‘we’re adults’ without gagging, because honestly, as a nineteen year old uni student beginning to have adult responsibilities, I feel that… hard. We also see Emily build the courage to stand up to self obsessed Betsy, who has problems of her own which she spends the entirety of the play attempting to ignore and blame on others.

One of my favourite parts of the plot was most definitely the format. The venue was small enough for the characters to single out members of the audience and bring them in on the joke without overwhelming the audience’s feeling of involvement. If they were anything like me, you don’t want to feel like you aren’t part of the fun, but you’re also going to see a play to relax and enjoy; for someone to do the work for you. My only criticism would be that some of the scene shifts were slightly jumpy and not very well linked. I found myself a bit confused as to what the purpose of some scenes were.

So if you’re looking for a play that makes you feel a whole lot better about that feeling of having no idea what’s going on and just wanting someone to hold your hand through life sometimes and tell you what the hell to do, this is definitely for you. It’s a play that I feel I could take my parents to and we could both apply our own life experiences and relate to.