Pork

David Egan's Pork is an interesting stab at an interesting topic; set in a future dystopia where pigs live side by side with feral humans in a sinister charitable enclave known only as 'the reserve', it uses comic seasoning to mask some dark, unpalatable questions about humans and animals. The topic is well summarised in a lyric by Australian band The Lucksmiths: 'one man's meat is another man's murder'. In this pacy one-act play, 'civilised' couple Robert and Ellen invite one of their wild brethren for dinner and introduce him to a fairly steep learning curve. Think Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, if the knives were not only out but literally sharpened. And there's only one little pig.Rob Hoare Nairne gives his second excellent Fringe performance as the jumpy, childlike visitor, perfectly capturing in his physical responses and uncertain vocal quality a basic unfamiliarity with the simplest of household items. Rafaella Marcus plays a wonderfully foxy Ellen, switching from sickly-sweet hostess-with-the-mostest politeness to a dangerous, minxish seductiveness. The glint in her eye when, teaching her guest to dance like a human, she announces herself to be 'mostly' monogamous, is a threatening suggestion that our various carnal appetites are more similar than we imagine. James Corrigan's Robert is less effective, often gabbling, but to be fair to him he's landed with the burden of most of the script's exposition. It's a great concept, but ultimately Egan spends a little too long creating his world for the characters to truly inhabit it and at times the dialogue is a little workmanlike, overly concerned with filling in the details.Half an hour is short, even for an Edinburgh show, and Egan tries to cram in too many footnotes to let his skewed satiric vision suggest itself, as it does most clearly in the fantastic sections where the guest discovers wine, chairs, and the pleasures of a flushing toilet. Luckily Nairne and Marcus are strong enough to cover up most of this over-reliance but at times it felt like the writing was trying to bite off more than the actors could chew.

Reviews by Richard O'Brien

The Blurb

With the world premiere of 'Pork', award-winning playwright David Egan delivers a short sharp shock. In a society where eating meat is outlawed, a middle-class couple prepare dinner for a very special guest...