Touring – reviewed at HOME Manchester, before transferring to the Lyric Hammersmith, London
Guest Reviewer: Daniel Shipman
1927’s The Animals & Children Took to the Streets is a deliciously dark gem of a show. With a running time of just 70 minutes, you might assume that the action would be rushed. Instead, the three performers take their time, wringing every last drop of twisted humour out of each rhyming couplet.
The plot here functions more as a device for the company to show off their stylistic genius, but it loosely revolves around a gang of children terrorising the grotesque denizens of a rundown tenement block. The rotating cast of residents are hugely entertaining, with the melancholic mumblings of the caretaker being a personal highlight of mine. I was surprised that only three performers were revealed to us at the end of the show, such is their dedication to marking out each individual role.
In typical 1927 style, the action is a combination of live performance and animated projection. The two are blended seamlessly with live and recorded music, and the skilful timing of the interaction with projections and music is consistently satisfying.
Despite the bleak, impressionist, Soviet aesthetic of piece, its tales of poverty, social division and healthcare cuts present eerie similarities to contemporary British life. You could be forgiven for thinking this all sounds a little grim, but the script ensures that a laugh is never far away. Think the Mighty Boosh performing a script by John Cooper Clarke, and you’d be in the right sinister, absurd and brilliant ballpark.