Written and performed by Uncanny Theatre
Unity Theatre
Tuesday 6th March 2012

Reviewed by Laura Naylor

Although Uncanny Theatre made no claims that they would actually be providing any real sense of optimism, its “twisted tale of desire and self-worth told through the eyes of an idiot” certainly gave the audience a few laughs as they explored the concept.

Combining visuals with clowning and physical theatre, the actors portrayed various characters all dealing with some form of rejection, coupled with the blind hope that if they change themselves then they would be considered desirable to the objects of their affections. To begin, we witness a rather unhinged young woman in love imagine the perfect scenario where she does and says all the right things. In her mind, she sees a series of dates play out culminating in a happy life together, the reality, unfortunately, is unintelligible dribble and an embarrassing dancing/gyrating/humping scene which she concludes with giving her phone number saying “Call me!” A tempting offer no doubt, unfortunately as she sits waiting by the phone knitting, we watch the months go by and it finally dawns on her: “He’s not going to call…” One can’t help but feel sympathy as she comes to realise she’s been rejected. What follows is some awkward stalking and breathy phone calls – “Do you like lamb?” – and since everyone likes lamb she undergoes a drastic transformation to turn herself into something that he’ll love.

As this particular story is played out, other scenes show characters come to terms with their own rejections, seeking to transform themselves as if this will somehow make everything all right. Like one young man in the midst of some confused princess and the frog story; if he becomes a frog then his princess will eventually come along and turn him into a prince. It could be conceived as a commentary on the rise in extreme cosmetic surgeries people are willing to go through to project how they wish to be seen by others.

Another scene depicted a beautiful winged creature gently flying slowly toward a soft blue glow, ‘living for the moment’, the ambient music brought some tranquility to the chaos of the performance but this was short lived as it climaxed in an electrocuting noise and the fly ceased to be. All the beautiful moments in our lives are just that – fleeting moments and over before we can fully appreciate them.

Optimism presented ideas we all have, from the belief that changing yourself for someone will make them love you to actually believing that that’s lamb in your kebab. By the end, my spirits were certainly lifted but it in no way filled me with any sense of hope. In a way it’s not so much optimism that life will get better so much that it can’t get any worse. Optimism is futile but, as the old adage goes, “Get over it and carry on”.

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