Bin Juice is a grotesque, disgusting, violent production, and all the better for it. Cat Kolubayev has written a show with such an inhumane brutality and slick humour that you can’t look away. If the title isn’t a giveaway that you’re not walking into the most sanitised of productions, the setting certainly is. We watch as an increasingly frustrated Barney/Belinda, played by Helena Antoniou, interviews for an apprentice position in a shady hazardous waste company. The interview itself is a blunt, hilarious slog that seems to contain every nightmare scenario for a job interview short of forgetting to wear trousers. It’s an amazing, entertaining, cringe-fest fuelled event that lays important groundwork for the tone and plot of the rest of the show.
Of course, while we empathise with Barney/Belinda at the beginning, it’s the two interviewers, Francine and Marla, played by Adeline Waby and Madison Clare respectively, that steal the show. The two make a great pair with Waby as the not-as-smart-she-thinks Francine and Clare as the incredibly thick, incredibly endearing Marla. They play perfectly off each other, with Francine barking orders or statements that don’t always quite make sense and Marla agreeing with them no matter what. Both actresses have impeccable timing and give off a twisted, Three Stooges-like energy that could see them throwing pies or body parts at each other with a perfect comedic effect.
Clare especially is a delight to behold. It takes someone very smart to play a stupid person well, and she does that with flying colours while managing to infuse the character with an inner life and heart that makes Marla believable. A standout moment for both Kolubayev’s writing and Clare’s performance is a particular monologue where Marla explains her mother was ‘eaten by flies’. What starts out as a joke quickly turns into an engrossing, disgusting, and deeply sad story about Marla finding her mother’s body days after she had died. The picture she paints of a vibrating mass of black buzzing in the kitchen sends chills down your spine and is not quickly forgotten.
It is very hard to find fault with this show. Bin Juice is dark and funny and seems to fall into a Beckett-esque absurdity reminiscent of Waiting for Godot or Endgame, but with more of an actual plot. The only thing that frustrates about this production is that it creates such an interesting world that you want to know more. You want to know who is running this ‘hazardous waste’ company, who Barney/Belinda really is, and you definitely want to know what happens after the show ends. It’s rare to leave a fringe show wanting a sequel, but Kolubayev has created something truly gross and entrancing.
Written by: Cat Kolubayev
Directed by: Anastasia Bruce-Jones
Consulting Producer: Kitty Wordsworth
Booking Link: https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/bin-juice
Booking Until: 15 March 2020