Pros: A standout performance from Linus Karp takes centre stage in this bizarre yet wonderful performance.
Cons: Its slightly icky subject matter and there are a few gross-out moments which feel out of place with such clever writing.
Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve F*cked does what it says on the tin. It is a perfectly written and timed darkly comic performance of one-sided conversations between a man and the animals he has… well, f*cked. It is strange. Oh boy, is it strange – but if you decide to take a walk on the wild side (and you really should) and delve into a bit of strange, this is the show to go for.
Bobby is a bit of an oddball. He is eager to please and keen for companionship, but he is socially awkward and short on friends and lovers. This leads him down a path of finding other consenting mammals to love – and then have exceptionally awkward conversations with after the ‘loving’ part.
It is tremendously funny. The writing is sharp, dark and humorous. The entirety of the performance sees Bobby (an absolutely pitch-perfect Linus Karp) delivering a monologue in uncomfortable nervous energy to each animal he seduces. The awkwardness feels so painfully genuine, and it hangs uncomfortably in the air as he tries in vain to get an animal to stay by his side outside of their one night stand.
With each mammal he meets, Bobby’s character develops and reveals more and more about how he came to find himself in this situation. The reveals are clever, and the backstory surprisingly moving. The transition that Bobby makes as he moves from animal to animal is a good story arc – as he grows in confidence with his experiences, he reveals more and more and falls down a darker and darker hole in his pursuit for happiness.
The casting of Linus Karp as Bobby is a stroke of genius. He does awkward so wonderfully and his delivery of the comic lines is perfect. He is the only actor in the show. It is a big ask to carry an entire show on his back, and he never falters. He repeatedly has the audience roaring with laughter and it is a disappointment when he leaves the stage at the end – the audience so clearly want more.
The staging is minimal but clever – a simple bed and bookcase give us the bedrooms Bobby rendezvous with his animals in, and as the adventures get less and less wholesome, the setting shifts in seediness as well. A tacky hotel blanket shifts the mood wonderfully in the hotel scene, and by shoving the bed up against a wall with spray paint all over the bottom for the finale, a completely different setting and atmosphere is present.
It is a show that is paced perfectly and goes from strength to strength, with few weak areas. There are a few moments of gross-out comedy (tasting cat food) that don’t seem as smart as the rest of the writing. There are also some areas of Bobby’s character which may not have been as clear as they could be. In the seedy-hotel scene, Bobby doesn’t miss a beat describing a young person being sold into a sex-ring in a way that suggests lived experience, but that isn’t delved into when he opens up about what is really awkward and quite tragic about his upbringing.
All in all, this is a great performance. The writing is sharp, and the performance is polished and terribly, terribly funny. The subject matter may not be for everyone, but Linus Karp’s performance is worth the ticket price alone – even considering all the awkward conversations you will have to have about what play you went to see last night.
Author: Rob Hayes
Director: Maddie Rice
Producer: Joseph Patterson
Booking Link: http://www.lionandunicorntheatre.co.uk/awkward-conversations-with-animals-ive-fucked/#1454629125419-6f1b6310-79f7
Booking Until: 29 November 2017