Hen And Chickens, London N1
Opened ?? August, 1992

A double-bill of very good student theatre, but of inescapably student theatre. In The Oxymoron, a man (writer Ian Dagger) stands spotlit in pyjamas, engaging in a low-key but manic free-associative ramble from evolution to the contents of his fridge to extreme physical violence. The title is suggestive, but inaccurate, of Dagger's style; in fact he prefers zeugma, of the "I had a pint of bitter and a punch in the kidneys" kind. It is shorter than the interval which follows it.

Livingroom Of The Living Dead is a chat between three corpses in a morgue; Dagger, as Actov God, is once again frenzied, recounting his many and varied previous demises, and Colin Ogg a comically dreary, cuckolded, gardening-freak suicide. Chris Howitt's foodie Brain-Haemorrhage is wearyingly OTT, but he manages an astounding variety of expression with the staring eyes painted on his closed lids.

I suspect Dagger is a one-trick pony; he has a fine turn of phrase, but lacks a vision to turn the head. Both pieces here are gothic Berkoff; they're not bad, but it just feels like a showcase rather than a bona fide theatrical event.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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