Every Wild Beast

It's not often you get to see theatre in what is essentially an attic. A quirkily decorated attic, laid out with clutter and beautiful hanging light bulbs, but an attic nonetheless. The huge number of shows at the Fringe means that companies utilise incredibly diverse spaces to set the many stories they have to tell us. Lion House Theatre have defeated the shortcomings of their small, cramped space, and turned it into part of the folkloric charm of their original new play, Every Wild Beast.

Folk tales have been reimagined here, reminding us that we too are folk about whom tales can be told: around campfires or television sets, in theatres or in attics.

Protagonists Barri and Sam meet when the self-professed ‘sketchy' Sam breaks into Barri’s home to hide from the police. Though alarmed by this, Barri joins him on his peculiar quest, which is as much about running away as it is about searching for something mythical. Encountering friendly farmers and hostile policemen, Barri and Sam make their way across a strange landscape, a country that is both familiar and alien to us, towards an encounter that changes their purpose and meaning forever.

This is a wonderfully intimate, thought-provoking show, helped in no small part by the creaky attic in which we’re all crammed, like sardines in a tin. Every Wild Beast is a wonderful combination of styles and stories: a plotline based on myth, folklore and legend mixes freely with contemporary dramatic dialogue and dialect. It is to the play and its performer's great credit that the piece connects so freely with its audience. Sullivan Beau Brown, who is blessed with an entertaining, expressive face, is used most heavily as a chummy narrator figure, and through him the story of these two strange characters is wired directly to the audience. Thoughtfully and believably acted by both Tom Coliandris and Casey Jay Andrews, who is the play’s author, the only criticism of the show that can be offered is an occasional lack of pace and urgency to the drama. By and large though, the whole combination works to create an audience that it totally invested in the tale before it.

What do we have to do to matter in a complicated world? Is there such a thing as fate? Every Wild Beast does what folklore does best - try to make sense of a human existence that can seem random. The beast Barri and Sam pursue is any fear you want it to be. The magic water they seek is the solution to all our problems, sometimes feeling so near, but not quite within reach, or not quite real. Folk tales have been reimagined here, reminding us that we too are folk about whom tales can be told: around campfires or television sets, in theatres or in attics.

Reviews by Andrew Forbes

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The Blurb

Every wild beast has a heart, in each heart is light and dark. The stars are empty, the moon has fallen out of the sky and the mountains are full of monsters. Barri collects newspaper clippings and listens to vinyl in her grandmother’s attic. Sam is trying to outrun a community support officer investigating the murder of several domestic badgers. Woven from folklore and fable, Every Wild Beast tells a tale of courage, curiosity and running away from really big scary things. This is not a love story. This is an adventure.

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