The Animals and Children Took to the Streets
Written & Directed by Suzanne Andrade
HOME, 7 October 2019
Set in and around a tenement block on the outskirts of a corrupt, sinful city, 1927’s latest offering is a dark amalgam of The Threepenny Opera, Beasley Street and The Gashlycrumb Tinies.
The story was OK, nothing special – a do-gooder and her daughter take a crib in the block in a bid to save the souls of the slum kids, that was part of it – but Paul Barritt’s expressionist graphics and atmospheric animations were stunning. They made the play, or perhaps distracted you from its shortcomings. There were scenes that evoked Grosz, Schiele (those houses tumbling one upon the other) and, of course, Edward Gorey. Besides the graphics, another way in which the play resembled Gorey’s work was in its hostility towards children: here the feral street pretties are drugged, kidnapped or otherwise contained by the adults around them. However, while I found the dystopian world of the play utterly convincing – a world populated by people who could be grotesque, eccentric or perverse – the narrative too often felt episodic, simply a series of black comedic gags strung together. It waned and dragged.
The Animals and Children Took to the Streets is showing at HOME until 16 February, further details can be found here.