After What Comes Before
3rd April 2014
Caution! May Contain Nuts
Boys will be boys. Manic Chord operate out of Leeds and consist of Dave
Cartwright, Sam Berril and Andy Monk. This evening's play in the tight
confines of the Unity 2 performance space could not cramp their style
or quench their enthusiasm. However the psychological and ethical fall
out from this one act fifty minute show raised more questions than answers.
So what was this all about?
To a backdrop of walls covered in esoteric and mathematical symbols and
a similarly inscribed front of stage, large box of tricks, three quirky
scientists enact out preposterously choreographed and in your face physical
theatre. This is interspersed with witty or darkly poetical philosophising
about what happens when a thought extraction machine interferes with the
normal synaptic functioning of the human brain.
Slapstick in a pubescent Cambridge Footlights sort of way, the characters
display what the rods of persuasion, manipulation and compulsion can reduce
a person to become, a gibbering plaything ultimately of the fascistic
tendencies of the perpetrators. The pandora's box provides the modus operandi
of this aggression/regression divide while the on the surface action has
a humouresque Monty Python feel to it.
Indeed the characters inform by their stereotypes; an impressive and
cock-sure Michael Palin lookalike, a mustachioed caricature of Biggles
flying by the seat of his pants and the ultimately unfortunate, fazed
Fred Flintstone inspired victim of the contraption's dastardly processes.
Disconcertingly, this did not come across as the laugh a minute show
billed at last year's Edinburgh Fringe. It did raise awareness however,
for those wanting it, of how easy it is for control freakery to become
the norm in our increasingly dumbed down society.
The last word goes to the last word spewed out. Cashews!