Flesh and Blood and Fish and Fowl

Recommended
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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This dystopian delight – part bastard child of Beckett, part ‘The Day of the Triffids’ and part taxidermy spectacular – takes the audience on a gloriously absurdist waltz to the end of time.

The setting is an office, and things are clearly awry from the moment that Geoff Sobelle’s tramp-like worker climbs out of a skip and starts a dance to the death with a fly. This is a comedy of twitches and pointless rituals, a warped elegy to awkwardness that amplifies as Charlotte Ford’s gawky secretary enters, trailing her sexuality as if it were a slightly embarrassed albatross.

He measures out his life in Post-It notes: she licks clingfilm as if it – rather than he – were the last man on earth. He is repelled by her, but between them they have to create some semblance of civilisation. All around, nature is starting to take its revenge. A meerkat here, a virulent potplant there – all are clearly thriving on the eradication of humans, the most destructive species ever to hit the planet.

The show was inspired by a photographer’s visit to a Ukrainian village in the wake of Chernobyl,

but it reads equally well as a warped meditation on climate change. None of which would matter were it not for the exquisite precision of Ford and Sobell’s performances. They grab your attention and hold it right to the Debussy-accompanied closing sequences, as death and sex erupt triumphantly into the bureaucratic banalities. Beckett would have been proud.

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