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HERALD SUN: The Long Pigs – Review

See article in its original context here by Byron Bache for the Herald Sun.

Rating: ★★★★

STEPHEN King has a lot to answer for. Children have always been afraid of clowns, but Pennywise, — the murderous clown from King’s 1986 novel It — created two generations of adult coulrophobics.

The Long Pigs is 75 minutes of clowning, but even if you’re deathly afraid of curly rainbow wigs, floppy shoes and squirty flowers, you’ll be fine.

“Long pig” is slang for human meat, and these black-nosed clowns aren’t out for blood, they’re out for noses; the red noses of their mainstream counterparts.

Ostracised from their cheerful brethren, these three misfits spend their days operating a sort-of Rube Goldberg production line that cans the excised noses of their victims.

But it’s not all dark. Clare Bartholomew, Derek Ives and Nicci Wilks, the three “pigs”, dish out pathos and hilarity in equal measure. The gags are killer and so are the clowns.

Co-devised by the performers and director Susie Dee, The Long Pigs is entirely non-verbal. It’s a creepy, brilliant and touching subversion of the form — almost anti-clowning.

The literal and metaphorical slaughter of traditional clowns could be heavy-handed, but there’s more to laugh at in greasy darkness than there is in a floodlit big top. Dee’s light touch, coupled with the performers’ incredible physical dexterity and perfect timing, makes wine out of water.

The show looks and sounds incredible — Anna Trelgoan’s abattoir-cum-playground set is a dirty curtained delight, Jethro Woodward’s astonishing score is as terrifying as it is gleefully bombastic, and Andy Turner’s lighting is magic.

The Long Pigs is a dirty little masterpiece, and it’ll change the way you think about clowning. It might even go some of the way to curing your fears. Get your tickets before this clown car leaves town.

THE LONG PIGS
fortyfivedownstairs, city, until March 23
Rating: ★★★★

 

Image: Clare Bartholomew, Derek Ives and Nicci Wilks. Picture: Ponch Hawkes Source:Supplied

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