As a long time enjoyer of the horror and comedy horror genres, I was disappointed by the thinness of Living a Little. Ironically for a play about Zombie flesh eaters, there just wasn’t enough meat. I kind of knew where it was going to go, and the route it took was a little too obvious. Even the surprises weren’t all that surprising.
Equally some of the plot devices simply didn’t work as they were supposed to. If a play is asking me to suspend belief enough to believe that the main characters are living through a zombie apocalypse, they need to do more work to not challenge that sense of disbelief elsewhere. Making the main characters and plumber and an electrician may have felt like a great wheeze and an easy way to explain their creature comforts, but it did nothing to stop me questioning the incongruity of the way they lived. Why were these two among all others able to forage so successfully in a way the band of survivors Penelope (Pearl Appleby) has previously been travelling with?
Equally, why make a semi-significant plot point of the female character’s hairy legs only for the actress to appear completely shaven. Yes, I hate myself for looking, but the dialogue directed me there more than once and once again it took me out of the drama of the play.
I liked the characters on the level they were presented to me on and I understood their motivations perhaps more than their circumstances. The temptation to party blindly in the face of disaster is one we can all relate to. The cast did a good job with the material they had, and I could feel the audience willing the actors on. Playwright Finlay Bain who played central character Rob is currently a more sophisticated actor than he is a writer and there were some really interesting nuances that came through. For me, his performance stood out above the others.
The themes in Living a Little deserve a hearing. How do we cope with the end of the world? What does really matter when nothing is left? There’s something in there that deserves to be explored. But for me, this play doesn’t quite get there.