DramaReviewSouth West

Snout – The Sherman Theatre, Cardiff 

Writer: Kelly Jones
Director: Kenny Miller
Reviewer: Beth Steer

At just under 40 minutes long, Snout is a three-woman, one-van performance that packs a lot of punch in a short space of time.

tell-us-block_editedWritten by award-winning playwright Kelly Jones, and directed by Kenny Miller, Snout explores what it means to be human – and animal.

As Coco (Clare Cage), Lacey (Michele Gallagher) and Viv (Sally Reid) spend a cramped journey to ‘the fete’ in the back of their farmer’s van, viewers are treated to an insight into the thoughts and feelings of farmyard pigs – and their views on the meat industry.

Snout‘s premise is clever – to illustrate that animals have individual thoughts, feelings and personalities in the same way that humans do. It tries to make the audience question society’s practice of ‘eating animals limbs, and wearing their skin on their feet’. It does succeed in doing this, and the actors are all talented. m

But, it has the potential to be so much more impactful than it is. The fact that the main characters are pigs (despite the lack of costume) is made clear instantly. This is a real missed trick. A more subtle, more shocking approach – where the audience only realises this as the pigs are, say, taken to slaughter- would have a much more dramatic, resonating effect. While the play treads the line between overt, political statements (“They’ll realise that it could’ve just as easily been them”) and a need to avoid alienating a more neutral audience, it could push further.

It is gentle, where it could be bold. It tells, rather than implies – there is no mystery and no real revelation.

As a concept, it’s very strong. And the actors – along with the staging, lighting and sound – are great. But you can’t help but leave wanting more. An additional 20 minutes, perhaps, to drill down into the characters. Or something more overt and significant in its implications.

The play professes to leave you ‘not able to look at a pork pie the same way again’. And it’s nearly there – just not quite. An interesting production that, with a little more darkness, subtly and satire – and the same cast – could be groundbreaking.

Runs until 12 November 2016  |Image: Contributed

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