We learn from the outset of the play that two of the three pigs are dead. What follows is an investigation, led by a goat and a chicken, to find and prosecute the culprit. A variety of animals are interviewed by the justice apartment, ranging from a drug riddled hyena to a neurotic rat; these are characterised with wonderful physicality by each of the actors and, although one might initially laugh at these exaggerated depictions, gradually we peer beyond the allegory and begin to consider the political subtext that lurks beneath.
The Three Little Pigs is a play which needs to be performed (as opposed to being read) and, thanks to the skill and wild gesticulation of the three actors, is an effective piece of social commentary. Yet I doubt whether the text could stand alone as a provocative example of Orwellian writing. Much of the plot revolves around the grief of the one remaining pig who seeks to avenge the death of his brothers. Convinced that the wolf is responsible, the interrogators accept this version of events too readily and, subsequently, we lose a sense of intrigue and wait to watch the plot unfold, rather than attempt to unravel its mysteries. Despite the fact that our expectations are confounded in the play’s final moments, by the time this conclusive revelation occurs we are no longer fully invested in the narrative and it is hard to summon much empathy for the characters involved.
Having said that, Rob van Vuuren, James Cairns and Albert Pretorius each deliver impressive, impassioned performances and, for this alone, I’d recommend that you buy a ticket.