Directed by Sarah Applewhite
Pros: A clever, witty and thought-provoking play that tackles one of societies’ most disturbing interferences with individual freedoms in a funny, hilarious and utterly bonkers way. Acting is near flawless. Very good use of audiovisuals.
Cons: Bare props and some needlessly prolonged scenes make it occasionally tedious, especially in the latter part.
Our Verdict: A funny and enjoyable one-woman show that gives you food for thought and an insane attraction to household appliances.
|Courtesy of the Ovalhouse|
What happens when a woman falls passionately in love with an upright Hoover? What? No, a dust-free Tango competition is not the right answer! And what if their bionic child grows to become an industrial vacuum cleaner that eventually generates a staunch librarian? Well, the only certainty is that lots of trouble is about to be delivered to the Botf*ck*rs!
This was never going to be your average solo play at the Ovalhouse. Freakoid is an entertaining and thought-provoking affair, and Emma Adams courageously delivers a bold message with a brilliant performance. Sure enough, the botf*ck*rs’ struggle of the future could be the one of any minority within a diversely moralized society.
It all starts with a nervous-looking 430004 (as known as Emma) frantically twitching and typing her confessions away. The props are simple but well thought out; a table, a few scattered boxes, abandoned PCs and cable everywhere. It made me hope for Mr Hoover’s early appearance so as to clean up the mess! Emma’s very engaging acting soon generates the first giggles and keeps the spirits pleasantly high, at least until we all realize that her confessions are no laughing matter. As the voiceover confirms, she is on trial for the capital offence of being a ‘half-meat’ and having entertained an illicit relationship with a household appliance. As my curiosity for this futuristic nightmare scenario inevitably grew, a series of video projections cleverly answered my questions about the sexy side of a kitchen blender and the suicidal nature of steam irons. I was also treated to an example of just how angry a “Simon Says” game can become! Thrilling stuff.
Yet this frankly silly story line somehow develops plausibility. Clever use of projection, voiceovers, string-delivered messages from the martial court and some inventive singing that even includes the revolutionary song of bio-bots and bionic memory devices make it hilarious throughout.
Emma Adams’ acting is near flawless. To keep the audience entertained and engaged in a frankly absurd monologue is no mean feat, but the lack of other performers is well compensated for by her dynamic use of space and accents. Her use of eye-contact with the audience is brilliant, making me quite believe that I was sitting on the totalitarian regimes’ Court bench, ready to land her with a damning sentence! By moving, jumping and sitting at the right time, she finely balances the nervous dread of being on trial with sparkly confessions of illicit bot-sexual encounters.
However, some of the videos – even though very humorous – were a tad too long to watch. In addition, the idea to involve the audience in some fiddly use of microphones to read out instructions from the Court, although noble in intention, was an unnecessary break in the flow of the otherwise smoothly run show.
Adams’ courageously experimental one-woman show literally sucks you into a world of sentient household appliances, lust for metal and wires, revolutionary botsongs and eugenic cleansing of Orwellian proportions. Her talent and intelligence comes through in both the acting and the script, and I will be looking forward to her next endeavour. Meanwhile, I am so glad to be back home to my sexy sandwich toaster…
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Freakoid runs at Ovalhouse Theatre until 9th March 2013.
Box Office: 020 7582 7680 or book online at http://www.ovalhouse.com/whatson/booktickets/freakoid