Four Woke Baes (3 stars)

This article is from 2019

Four Woke Baes

credit: Elisabeth Caren

Witty, honest comedy of self-discovery

From established American playwright Jonathan Caren, Four Woke Baes is a dark comedy about four unassuming men having their doctrines on monogamy challenged while on a secluded camping trip in Colorado. The trip is to celebrate Dez's bachelor party, but they are irked by a female camper who sparks conversations about the legitimacy of love, marriage and monogamy in the 21st century. Despite a well-crafted script that examines a series of relevant contemporary themes, it seems to resolve its tensions too early.

Caren's honest dialogue is a window into the mindset of this group of friends. All the actors are fantastic, with strong comic timing and fast-paced delivery. The claustrophobic setting – the action never wanders outside of the campsite – focuses attention on the characters, and it is difficult to empathise with such clearly flawed individuals. Equally, the journey of self-discovery for white males is a path well-trodden, and the philosophical debates are undermined by its familiarity.

Neatly framed by two monologues from Dez, Four Woke Baes summarises the path to woke and asks the audience to follow. While this ties up the open questions nicely, it is an ambitious invitation after a play with characters who are very difficult to relate to.

Underbelly Cowgate, until 25 Aug (not 12), 5.05pm, £11.50–£12.50 (£10.50–£11.50).

Four Woke Baes

  • 3 stars

A stag party in the wilderness awakens four friends to their true natures. UK premiere from playwright Jonathan Caren (Gypsy, Netflix; The Sinner, Netflix; Rise, NBC; A Million Little Things, ABC).