The posters for Pigmalion Zoo simply advertise it as ‘A New Play’ with no trace or clue as to who may have written it. Having watched Pigmalion Zoo I can now understand why a writer would refuse to take credit for a play that can only be described as the theatrical equivalent of a punch in the crotch. That’s of course assuming that the play had a writer at all, which from the evidence is highly questionable.
It is ostensibly a satire on the highly corporate nature of the modern world. There is a minimal amount of exposition included in the programme which is genuinely tantalising. The line ‘God has been found dead in a Sainsbury’s car park’ particularly stirred my desire for dark comedy. However, apart from repeating the exposition from the programme word for word in the play itself there was absolutely nothing more said about it. This is no exaggeration. There was nothing said about it. What happened onstage had no discernible relevance to what the play was meant to be about. In fact it had no discernible relevance to anything.
There was one exception. The traditional saying of grace at the dinner table was replaced by the mad singing of advertising jingles. This is not a bad way of making a relatively simple point, that Coca-Cola has replaced God. For some reason this singing kept going on and on, kept getting stranger and stranger until the joke was utterly dead. All satiric intent was lost amidst animal-like howling and bizarre dancing. This flogging of a dead joke was presumably done because it was deemed too funny to drop, too ingenious not to ram repeatedly down the audience’s throat. Maybe if we scream it louder people will finally get it.
What we have instead of relevance are random bursts of loud music and bad dancing which were not only inexplicable but also incredibly annoying. What was even worse than this annoying filler was the degradation inflicted upon the daughter. She grovels and crawls like a dog (oh! So maybe corporations make us rather beastly? How insightful) in a see-through plastic suit wearing red lingerie underneath. The way she is treated by Angel Carrousel’s Pigmalion was quite simply vile and depraved, inspecting her body like a puppy on show. This behaviour was never explained and one can only surmise that its inclusion in the play was based upon the desire to be deliberately repulsive. Congratulations. It worked.
A depressing, badly-acted cesspit of drivel, Pigmalion Zoo is not worth recommending even to your enemies.