Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review: Snuff Club


By Snuff Puppets.

The Snuff Puppets’ latest is a bit like catching your best friend urinating on your other best friend, and both of them seem to be enjoying it. It’s really very “ewwww” but these are your friends, right, and they’re not actually intending to cause any harm. It’s just an unfortunate fact that your friends turn out to be a bit scarier than you’d realised.

The piece is a cabaret/variety night of truly abject horror. The Snuffies don’t do puppets in the way you might expect (hands up the posterior of a felt fizgig or wacky figure suspended on strings). They tend more towards onstage performers dressed in absurdly manipulable outfits. In this case, we get overweight Germanic lovers tearing each others’ limbs off and devouring them; a real-time sex-change operation with rusty scissors and a blood-spurting penile stump; a compere who ends up chowing down on most of the cast and sucking them into his engorged gullet. Just another day at the office for me, really.

Amidst the carnage, the show definitely finds a moment to throw a bone to fans of man-pigs who spout existentialist philosophy in French. I think the porcine orator was quoting Sartre when he proclaimed that “l'existence précède l'essence” but my French is getting a bit rusty so feel free to raise a trotter if you can correct me.

And, as mentioned in my last review, there’s some inverted body stuff going on wherein a fella turns himself inside out. It took a bit long when I saw it, though, and when the final reveal took place it was rewarding but had lost the ghastly momentum that was needed to really make for a killer ending.
I saw Snuff Club on opening night and there were technical difficulties, but even with these in mind I couldn’t help but think that the whole thing needs serious tightening up. There are too many moments of lengthy anticipation unmet; the band seem out of synch with the all-important MC character; the Sturm und Drang effect of the whole Cronenbergian imagery frequently falters during lengthy sections of waiting. This is a brilliant forty minutes hanging around for an hour and a half; I’m hoping that it sharpens up later in the season.

Lithuanian Club until Oct 10.

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