A few years ago the Rejects' Revenge company bade fair to become the next Right Size. Their latest show, however, sees them more squarely in the more poignant physical-theatre field of the likes of Told By An Idiot.
Tim Hibberd's script is set in an unspecific but clearly quasi-Balkan city riven and all but destroyed by continuing civil war. People forage for food, live in cellars and are victimised for having the wrong name. At the same time, bizarre events take place such as plans to cook the elephant from the city zoo. Since the story is told in flashback, we are constantly informed in advance how characters emerge from the siege, and black little ditties punctuate the action.
It takes a while to reconcile oneself to the fact that the laughs along the way are rueful, even grim; we are seldom used to comedy being so naked a way of dealing with enormities. Performer Stephen Harper also seems a little more diffident than his colleagues (Hibberd and Sarah Brignall). But the piece works on its own terms and stands unintentionally as a clownier, though minor-key, counterpart to Splendour at the Traverse.
Written for the Financial Times Web site, ft.com
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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