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Freakoid – Ovalhouse, London

Writer: Emma Adams

Director: Sarah Applewhite

Reviewer: Deborah Klayman

[rating:3]

Bold and bizarre in equal measure, writer-performer Emma Adams’ Freakoid is certainly an original production. Set in a world filled with biobots and half-meats, Adams’ invites the audience into her universe: a place where the relationship between a woman and her hoover-lover may end in either disaster or revolution.

430004 (also known as Emma) is writing her confession, spurred on by unseen forces. The interactions between 430004 and her oppressors are interspersed with video vignettes, songs and a dance sequence, with each aspect walking the line between the comically surreal and the oddly clever. Adams’ characterisation of Emma is strong, with her Thatcher-esque voice and anxious shakes, yet the piece as a whole struggles to hang together. Some of the video sequences are a little tedious and fail to advance the plot, and the songs – although very funny – are often overlong. Seeming drawing a parallel between misunderstood love in this fictional land and discrimination against LGBT people, Adams’ drive and intelligence is certainly there, albeit in a slightly muddled way.

Playing all of the characters including voiceovers (and therefore unable to resist a comment about ‘the cuts’), Adams does fall into the trap of using a variety accents to differentiate, some more successfully than others. When she returns to her central rôle, however, the life returns to the show and the audience willingly participate, keen to know where the story will end up. Adams is a likeable performer with plenty of presence, and her mischievous quality coupled with the imaginative set and clever staging make this unusual production both strangely engaging and engagingly strange. Definitely an original concept, and a piece that will keep you guessing.

Photo: Paul Fox

Runs until 9th March

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