FRINGE REVIEW – Flesh & Blood and Fish & Fowl, Traverse

*****

1900 (2000) Until 28th August and 1pm 21st and 28th @ Traverse (St Stephen’s)

By Emily P

Rhoda and Jerry inhabit the same offices of a convenience food manufacturer. Some apocalyptic happening has left them the sole occupants of a world falling fast under the encroachment of nature. Rhoda and Jerry attempt to carry on as normal in denial of the flora and fauna threatening to overwhelm them. ‘Normal’ for Rhoda and Jerry seems to be a stalemate of hostility, sexual desire, tedium and office politics which they practice with often bestial vigour and for our hilarity.
 
This is essentially a clowning performance with long intervals of dialogueless physical sketches on the mundanity of modern life. To begin the set sets the scene for observation office cubicle, a photocopying station, the microwave  but as the hour goes on so the set comes alive with the forces of nature penetrating Rhoda and Jerry’s petty, ritualistic working lives. This leads to some very funny moments, and the perfectly choreographed physical classic US slapstick. In fact much of the observational vignettes of ridiculousness have been explored on the big and small screens of the states so it is pleasing to experience them in live theatre and in the UK.
 
Beyond the terrific set (the working of which was a performance in itself) and the set-pieces of clowning action – the contest with the fly is excellent; this is a fairly slight slice of physical and comic theatre. Whilst there was plenty of wildlife to provide the Fish and Fowl, I felt it lacked a little Flesh and Blood.

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