Juice Straws Are Bleak

Juice Straws Are Bleak is a fantastical, surrealist adventure experienced by a class of school children under the disinterested gaze of their teacher. It’s hard to compare to anything, but it has flavours of The Mighty Boosh, though in an original way.

This could easily become a knockout cult hit.

The audience follow the imaginations of, initially, one and then a class of children. The portrayals of the children and of their highly active minds is joyful. The writing and creation of this piece is incredibly strong, and writer Marysa Finnie should be commended for her fantastic imagination. Directed with an obviously skilled hand by Lynne Jefferies, a huge amount of work has gone into this manic piece of DIY fringe theatre about isolation and comprehension of the world around, and inside us.

The whole cast do a truly fantastic job. It is unusual for a fringe show not to have any weak links, but this show proves the exception. Unfortunately, there are too many to mention. However, a few must be commended. Beatrice Grannó is a natural clown; she plays the closest thing to the lead in this ensemble piece, and early on confirms she is an absolutely solid foundation of chaotic rock for the audience to rely upon. Her focus and immersion in her heavily physical mime character is beautiful and a joy to watch. Taylor Danson’s Jimothy begins humorously but evolves interestingly. He seems to sink further into the character as the play goes on and brings an excitement and edge to the stage which adds wonderfully to it. Allie Munro is simply hilarious as the Teacher. This is the counterpoint role to Grannó’s Little Girl, adding a delightful dose of lethargic cynicism to contrast with Grannó’s youthful enthusiasm and curiosity. Her cutting jibes are expertly delivered and her nonchalance keeps the audience tittering. Stefanie Reynolds pulls it put the bag with her Motivational Speaker. She hits every punchline perfectly and has the audience in stitches. A brief mention must be made of the set design and, specifically, the Story Book Illustration. This is exceptionally crafted by Daniel Kettle, whose artistic skills create immediate immersion.

The experience is phenomenal. It’s a little rough around the edges, and some moments could perhaps be streamlined, but this is an out-there, pioneering piece of surreal craziness which should definitely be seen. With a bit of further development this could easily become a knockout cult hit.

Reviews by Dixon Baskerville

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The Blurb

We welcome you with open fingers to Picklesworth Primary. Where the kids have seen too much and know too little. Following a plastic bag with a taste for hardcore punk music, take a glimpse into the heart of Picklesworth where we dare you to come face-to-face with the good old pits of loneliness and alcohol-inducing disappointment. Kids can be cruel, dreams don’t come true and whales are the loneliest animals on the planet. It’s grim, it’s bleak, it just happens to be goddamn funny.