Imagine a world where people can change sex at will. Wives can become husbands, mothers fathers and daughters sons. Specie takes us into a magical future where people can ‘change’ with ease, becoming ‘new’ people who can live out their lives without fear of detection - unless you’re applying to be a priest at a Catholic church. A captivating, utterly charming production from Fat Git Theatre, the show is littered with talent of every kind. Never a dull moment, Specie is a joyous piece of theatre.
The action opens on a therapy session for NPA, New People Anonymous, where we meet Louis, a young boy who has ‘only changed once’ and yet feels there’s something missing. Suddenly we are plunged back and forth in time through a host of characters documenting this new world of possibilities and gradually telling the tale of Lucy, who became Louis. Through a blind date, back to therapy sessions, to a family home and a dingy nightclub we begin to get a feel for the problems that this strange new process can cause. The script is funny, moving and poignant but more impressive is the ensemble performance from Fat Git. The musicians are superb, effortlessly cool they tie in perfectly with the drama and create a light, funny and truly memorable atmosphere. The scene changes are hilarious and beautifully stylised. The director, Josh Roche, should be proud; the young cast is flawless, there’s not a weak link in sight.
A fantastic performance, the piece was only let down by the writing. A fun and light script skirted around some heavier issues, appearing to lack the courage to go deeper. As a husband attempts to convince his wife to ‘change’ their young daughter because ‘life is better as a man’, I assume a dialogue of some kind will take place, yet simply receive a half-hearted clichéd list of the crimes of sexism. ‘What exactly is wrong with women’s chances?’ asks the wife, a very important question, which her husband never answers. The play chose to bring up these issues yet didn’t seem prepared to face them. I am unconvinced that the mother would’ve agreed to this ‘change’ being performed going by the logic produced on stage, a shame, as this could’ve been a chance for some very interesting dialogue.
Specie is a gorgeous piece of theatre performed by an extremely talented young cast. Fat Git is one to watch out for and I look forward to what they gift us with next.