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Pests

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Five stars
When a woman steps silently into the sculpted tip which two damaged
sisters call home and pulls out a baby rat from the swollen
track-suited belly of one of them, it's clear just how feral the
twenty-something siblings have become in Vivienne Franzmann's
remarkable new play. This is one of few silent moments in a ninety-five
minute tug of love between Pink and Rolly that explodes with the pains
of every-day survival in the messed-up bubble the women have created
for themselves.

Rolly has arrived on Pink's doorstep straight out of prison. Barely
literate but furiously articulate, with a street-smart patois lifted on
the cheap from pop songs and trash TV, Pink and Rolly take on the world
outside their door with a snarl. Inside, they find comfort from each
other, and while Rolly never sees the projected mayhem going on in
Pink's head, a pair of magic red shoes might just make things better.

While there are obvious linguistic and thematic similarities between
Franzmann's co-dependents and the equally high-octane teenage lovers of
Enda Walsh's now iconic play, Disco Pigs, Franzmann's demotic crackles
with a unique sense of fire and heartbreak. Lucy Morrison's production
for Clean Break, the Royal Court and Royal Exchange, Manchester grabs
Franzmann's already breathlessly brilliant script by the scruff of its
neck and lets loose a pair of stunning performances from Sinead
Matthews and Ellie Kendrick. In a series of break-neck exchanges, they
make it clear just how much Pink and Rollo have been swamped by the
detritus of the real world and damaged by the institutions that failed
them in this sad, angry and devastatingly beautiful piece of work.

The Herald, May 26th 2014


ends

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