Animal (Are You a Proper Person?)

Animal (Are you a proper person?) is a show about learning who you are and being proud of whatever that might be. All very twee, I know. Well, actually, not quite: it’s less quiet introspection, more shouting from the rooftops. Through a combination of live music, wigs, and some boisterously told anecdotes, Chris Redmond and Anna Freeman — along with the one-man “Dave O’Brien orchestra” — take the audience on a lively journey of self-discovery and youthful embarrassment.

A pretty fun show, exuberantly performed.

How then, does one discover his or her true self? The key, we’re told, is in finding out and accepting which spirit animal should guide your life. Anna’s daemon is a flamingo: thin, pink, feathery, and just a little bit gay, introduced to her through a hippy bongo circle. Her flamingo marks her as a bit of an outsider, and later becomes a figure for her initial resistance and ultimate acceptance of her sexual orientation. Chris’s is a pig — a wild, dirty creature that helps to make his music that little bit more orgasmic, and his lovemaking that little bit more rock ’n’ roll.

The meat of the show is contained in Chris and Anna’s anecdotes, which revolve around crucial — often humiliating — moments in their separate journeys of self-discovery. A particular story involving fellatio and The Price is Right was the basis for a superbly hysterical, ahem, climax of the show, though the rest of the tales were a little more uneven, if always reasonably diverting at worst.

Animal, then, is basically a collection of a few funny stories with some spirited musical interludes. Chris and Anna are entertaining hosts, holding court with tongues planted firmly in their cheeks, but the show doesn’t make it anywhere too profound or unexpected. All the same, it’s still a pretty fun show, exuberantly performed.

Reviews by Jamie P Robson

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The Blurb

Action film crushes, pub science and awkward one-night stands meet in a boisterous show about learning to live with the choices we make and the animals that guide us. Featuring farcical storytelling, high energy live music and homemade graphs. Created by the acclaimed Tongue Fu team – 'Spoken word whizzkids' (Evening Standard). **** (Scotsman) – Animal is a playful, personal and irreverent exploration of self-empowerment, identity, friendship and farmyards. Written and performed by writer, poet and musician Chris Redmond, comedian and novelist Anna Freeman, and musicians from the Tongue Fu Band.