Crocodile – The Old Red Lion, London

Writer: Joe Eyre

Director: Will Maynard

Reviewer:  Richard Maguire

 In a world like ours a woman gives birth to a crocodile. After some tests at the hospital the woman and her husband are allowed to take Sarah, their new ‘daughter’, home, but instead of making her snug in a cot, they slip her into a half-filled sink. Thus begins Joe Eyre’s Crocodileplaying at The Red Lion’s London Horror Festival, now in its eighth year.

In this one-man show, on an almost bare stage, Eyre plays Alan, the crocodile’s father, and he seems to have come to the end of his tether. He’s exasperated at how people treat Sarah. The neighbour’s (human) daughter thinks she’s boring while the posh school at the end of the road is refusing to take her, despite its new fancy swimming pool.

Crocodile could be a metaphor for how we view difference or it could be a parody of those pushy parents who will stop at nothing to make sure their children are accepted at a certain school. However, this dark tale works best as an old-fashioned horror story and Eyre’s performance certainly gives you the chills. He plays one of those attractive villains, full of menace and charm. When he tells you to come out of the dark, you’re half-tempted even though you know his jaws might snare you. Matthew Carnazza’s lights, while sometimes unsubtle, add to the creepiness, but it’s Eyre who puts us on edge. Pouring water into a glass has never seemed so sinister.

At 45 minutes, Crocodile is certainly snappy, but the second part of the show flounders a little. No longer is the audience his concerned and cornered wife, and no longer are we in his house with the police knocking at the door. This move from the domestic to the pubic undercuts the tension Eyre has built in the first part. Like any hungry crocodile, we could do with more to chew on, but this unsettling tale, with its undertones of Metamorphosis, is perfect Halloween material.

Runs until 16 October 2018 | Image: Contributed

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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