War Pig

Stringing out a show over one or two grotesque images

dance review | Read in About 2 minutes
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War Pig
Published 12 Aug 2017

It’s to the credit of company Le Festin de Saturne that, at the end of this show, one of the performers, instead of delivering the usual, "If you like it tell your friends, if you hate it your enemies" line, says, "If you like it talk about it and if you hate it talk about it. We need you." This attitude, of clearly wanting to communicate, to engage with an audience whether it’s by entertaining them, shocking them, provoking, repulsing or charming them, comes across strongly in War Pig. It’s not a self-indulgent work, it’s just that as a piece of theatre, it doesn’t really work.

Two white-faced clowns—one the effeminate Juan with red lipstick and pink bow under his chin, the other bristling, bearded military captain Fidel Castra—embark on a wartime adventure, and, in the way clowns do, make clumsy meals of everything. The various scenes don’t really link together, but illustrate, for example: an amusing dance between Juan trying to sign documents and Castra sadistically trying to stamp his hand; a dinner between the two; a gun fighting scene where they shoot a comedy chicken from the sky; Juan being spanked; Castra preparing a sausage out of pigs’ trotters; a vision of Juan’s mother squirting water from her breasts.

Occasionally they hit upon something striking, like Juan’s grotesque dance with a pig’s head in front of his own. But you feel as if these are the fleeting images on which the pair have built the show. The rest feels like padding.