FEAST

Clout Theatre prove themselves to be and provocative theatre makers in their new piece FEAST by challenging theatrical conventions as well as ignoring the age old advice not to play with your food. A wordless triptych about the evolution of humanity and society, with food used as the central image, FEAST seems to be a blank canvas that allows us to project whatever meaning we want onto it. Bursting with ideas and desperate to use as many theatrical devices as possible, it tries to tackle too many issues, meaning it gives us lots to chew over but nothing to truly satisfy us.

The company are evidently imaginative and ambitious in their work; shocking the audience with the grotesque, pushing their bodies to the limits of masochism and finding a metaphor for every kind of food imaginable.

From the beginning, the absurdist company seem intent on making the show as unpleasant as possible, playing gratingly loud insect noises as we enter and wait for the show to begin, for no apparent reason than to give us tinnitus. What follows is a barrage of images evoked by the actors’ energised physicality with a whole shopping trolley full of food at their disposal. In a wordless show, the visuals have to be utterly clear but sadly I found FEAST quite hit and miss. There are some powerful and thought-provoking segments but they are rarely developed to have more depth and the company swiftly moves on to something completely different. One segment seemed to show humanity’s dependence on food as the actors desperately waited for cornflakes to fall from the sky before moving on to attempted cannibalism – an interesting portrait of our insatiable hunger and potential lack of humanity in desperate situations. But then they portray food as a luxury rather than necessity as regal music plays and an exquisite banquet is revealed in an attempt to comment on the class system. Being only two of many ideas on offer (and there’s everything from plastic surgery to GM crops in this piece), though they were interesting, I would have preferred more discussion and depth to fewer issues.

All in all the company are evidently imaginative and ambitious in their work; shocking the audience with the grotesque, pushing their bodies to the limits of masochism and finding a metaphor for every kind of food imaginable. If you love work that refuses to explain itself and leaves itself open to countless interpretations then you’re likely to enjoy FEAST but if, like me, you prefer context and clarity then FEAST is definitely not for you.

Reviews by Liam Rees

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

A show about food. The evolution of humanity through the triptych of a daily routine: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Multi award-winning Clout Theatre return with their most ambitious project to date: a visual feast which traverses drastically different styles from primal movement to clown, to multimedia. This excessive, anarchic and wordless piece is peppered with absurdity, gourmandise and overtones of cannibalism. 'Experts in the grotesque' (Exeunt). 'Ridiculous, hilarious, baffling and unnerving ... a sheer pleasure' **** (Scotsman). Developed with support from Battersea Arts Centre, Jackson's Lane, Tiyatro Medresesi, The BikeShed Theatre and Arts Council England. www.clout-theatre.com