Sunday 3 December 2023

The Long Pigs review

Clowns are supposed to stir joy and laughter in people. Just ask It. Or the Long Pigs. Back in Melbourne for more bloodshed and nosey behaviour, The Long Pigs introduces us to three black-nosed clowns who are busily at work eliminating all red-nosed clowns. When doing a count, they realise they are one nose short and suddenly no one can be trusted as they vow to figure out who the culprit is.

Directed by Susie Dee, The Long Pigs is strong with its vision and imagination in crafting this macabre world and bringing these clown characters vividly to life. It is fascinating to see the changing relationships and power dynamics play out throughout the show. Clare Bartholomew in particular is a delight to watch with her facial expressions a constant source of intrigue and hilarity. Nicci Wilks is the loose cannon that plays by her own rules and Mozes is the slightly more high achieving and focused of the three, which sees him condemned to a far darker fate than his red-nosed counterparts.

While we should be horrified by their behaviour, we continue to lean in to it and desire more and more, but is there too much of a good thing? The ending loses the narrative foundations that the production has been working towards. There are a number of false endings - whether intentional or not - and some of these end up being more compelling finales than the one we get, which feels drawn out and too on the nose.

The set design by Anna Tregloanis elicits a sense of unease, desolation and destruction. Everything is lustreless, dusty and makeshift. Dirty sheets are removed to reveal various rickety contraptions and tools at the Pigs' disposal and provide plenty of surprises for the audience. Paired with Jethro Woodward's impeccable sound design, and we end up with wondrously effective world building that we are fully drawn into.

It's a beautiful sight to see the horrors unfold in The Long Pigs. Its committed and accomplished cast and crew have once again brought terror and laughter to the Melbourne stages. There are times you question if you should be laughing at this, and the answer is always yes. There are also times when you question what the show is trying to say and the answer to this is equally terrifying when you consider what's happening in the world today.

Show Details

Venue: Theatre Works, 14 Acland St, St. Kilda
Season: until 10 Dec | Tues - Sat 7:30pm, Sun 5pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $45 Full | $35 Concession | 20 for $20
 Theatre Works

Venue: Hothouse Theatre, Gateway Island, Lincoln Causeway, Wodonga
Season: 13 - 14 Dec | 6pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $25 Full | $22 Concession
Hothouse Theatre

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