by Greg Kotis.
St James Theatre 12 Palace Street SW1E 5JA To 21 November 2015.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Wed & Sat 2.30pm.
Runs 2hr 20min One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 264 2140.
Review: William Russell 28 October.
If pigs could fly they would fly away fast.
This incredibly silly black comedy pretends to pose questions about the catastrophes ahead for the world because of all the scientific advances we are enjoying, especially when it comes to producing food under factory farm conditions.
His inspiration, according to Greg Kotis, was that when Hurricane Floyd struck the North Carolina coast in 1999 it flooded the state’s industrial pig-farm operations, drowning the pigs. Some 110,000 carcases were flushed out to sea with disastrous environmental results.
These factory pig farms also produced a vast amount of sludge which had to be disposed of somehow and lazy farmers dumped that in the rivers with equally nasty environmental damage results. So far so good.
But to make his case he sets up a four-hander in one of those stereotypical Middle American farm houses somewhere terribly boring – very Sam Shepard – inhabited by deeply unhappy people; handsome, overworked pig farmer Tom who hates the federal government; broody sex-starved wife Tina, wanting a baby; and hunky teenage pea-brained farm-hand Tim, on loan from the local correctional facility for bad boys.
While Tom is otherwise engaged Tim decides Tina will make a man of him and she duly obliges on top of the kitchen table, cooker, sink and – off-stage – in front of the washing machine in spite of the fact he is covered, having been out counting the pigs, with pig.
Into this fragrant world comes Teddy, the man from the Environmental Protection Agency, officially to check that the rules regarding pig-rearing are being obeyed, but clearly not averse to whatever he can get on the side, even Tina.
Everyone you will note, including Teddy’s unseen assistants, have names beginning with T. Thereafter blood flows, trucks gets crashed, pigs stampede, guns are fired, people get hit over the head with rolling-pins, and those who do not survive take an awful long time expiring.
There are some good lines, the play is well-constructed, and the acting cannot be faulted, but the evening, which has nothing worth saying about whether technology will be our ruin or our salvation, remains terrible tosh.
Tom: Dan Fredenburgh.
Tim: Erik Odom.
Tina: Charlotte Parry.
Teddy: Stephen Tompkinson.
Director: Katharine Farmer.
Designer: Carla Goodman.
Lighting: Jason Taylor.
Sound: John Leonard.
Fight director: Malcolm Ranson.
Associate sound: Phil Matejtschuk.