The Long Pigs

06/08/19

Assembly Roxy, Central, Edinburgh

Welcome to the world of The Long Pigs – a dirty, degraded chamber where clowning has taken on a sinister and bizarre twist. The three pigs – Clare Bartholomew, Mozes and Nicci Wilks – have made a list and they’re checking it twice. They are working tirelessly to eradicate the world of all their competition, removing the noses of famous clowns and canning them, using a ramshackle device that would challenge the best inventions of Heath Robinson.

But their work is regularly interrupted when they are called upon to go through the motions of a ‘performance,’ shuffling grudgingly through over-rehearsed routines, scowling furiously at the audience as they do so, before breaking off and hurrying back to the task that clearly obsesses them. So many clowns out there; so much work to be done before they can rest.

The look of this piece is unremittingly squalid, but there is beauty here too in the soaring soundscape that accompanies the action and, while the full meaning of what we see is sometimes frustratingly opaque, it nevertheless generates plenty of after-show speculation. What is the meaning of that crucifixion scene? What does the gangling rag-doll on a rope signify? And as for that astonishing ending…

Well, I guess that’s the very essence of what this Australian physical comedy troupe is working to achieve. One thing’s for sure: this is a show the like of which I’ve never seen before and, if the Fringe has a raison d’être, then surely originality must count for a whole lot? So head down to the Assembly Roxy and take your thinking caps with you.

You’re going to need them.

4 stars

Philip Caveney

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