Pig Circus – Phoenix, Exeter

Director: Tyler Rainford

Producer: Tanya Agarwal

Reviewer: Bethan Highgate-Betts

Presented as part of the ‘Edinburgh Previews’ program at Exeter Phoenix, Pig Circus will be heading up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a short run at the Greenside venues this August. The debut show from the New Diorama Graduate Emerging Company, Hitchhiker Collective, Pig Circus was shortlisted for a Les Enfants Terribles Award 2018.

Political satire at its flimsiest, Pig Circus is presented as four clowns taking on the Conservative government’s handling of the Brexit negotiations. The absurdist verbatim piece uses actual quotes from Brexit MPs, with the clowns transforming into Teresa May, Boris Jonson, David Davis and Liam Fox, and taking part in a mock Q&A. 

Pig Circus is directed by and stars Tyler Rainford, and produced by Tanya Agarwal, with each of the ensemble cast having links to Exeter University. Every member of the cast is very capable, carrying the clowning comedy through its 50 minutes running time. But it is Sam Lockwood that stands out with his particularly strong and engaging performance.

There is a small amount of audience participation, for which members of the audience are forewarned on arrival (and can opt-out). This the production team should be praised for, creating an accessible atmosphere, before the show has even started.

The performance includes some interesting comedic visual explorations of a topic that has been saturating the media since June 23rd, 2016. The jokes are mainly ones the audience will already be familiar with, and the structure of the production can get repetitive. That being said there are a great many things to laugh at. Unfortunately, the biggest of those laughs come from things not quite go to plan, when the Scottish flag accidentally broke off from the rest of the United Kingdom.

There is a great energy to the fast-paced piece and this works in the companies favor. However, there is so much going on and with so little coherency, that the performance can feel a bit all over the place. However, this is something which can be refined with time.

Overall, Pig Circus is a promising start from an energetic young company. The perfect show for anyone that wants to relive the past three years of Brexit through some tongue in cheek clowning around.

Reviewed on 24 June 2018 | Image: Contributed

Review Overview

The Reviews Hub Score

Political Clowning

The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. 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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