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The Infant
Published on Wednesday, 24 August 2011

3 stars

Pleasance Courtyard (venue website)
3-14, 17-29 Aug, 2:35pm-3:35pm
Reviewed by Carmel Doohan

 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.

In a prison set in no particular place, our interrogators name-switch like an evil Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, serving tea as they torture. This is like a Tom Stoppard adaptation of the rat scene in 1984, only lacking the rat or the novel that precedes it.

The strangely named guards Castogan and Samedi are investigating a nonsensical crime that has put future 'security' at risk. Two metal doors are wheeled around the stage as a simple but tremendously effective way of changing the scene, and innovative choreography keeps things well-paced and enjoyable. Early dialogue is sharp and witty, but after a gripping first scene, tension is not sustained.

Anthony Spargo is brilliantly funny; his every gesture is hilarious, and he can make the whole audience laugh by doing no more than pausing or changing the pitch of his voice. However, the detained couple are far less convincing.  Their speech is wooden and their relationship totally unbelievable.

As a reflection on the “war on terror” delivered by the Chuckle Brothers, the chuckling is impressive but the political allegory less so. There is potential here for the surreal humour to develop into real satire, but an interesting premise becomes predictable all too quickly. It is a shame the intelligence and originality evident in other areas wasn't used to take this dark vision of the future further.

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