The Various Lives of Infinite Nullity

The three players of Clout Theatre present The Various Lives of Infinite Nullity: an absurd tale involving suicide and the reasons individuals may commit such an act. Clout Theatre tackle the subject from the perspective of the dead, using comedy, physical imagery, horror and minimal set.

The characters within the performance include a housewife who killed herself by putting her head in the oven, played by Jennifer Swingler; a motivational speaker who jumped from a tall building, played by Sacha Plaige; and an ambiguous middle class man who crashed his car, played by George Ramsay. These characters find themselves in a variety of situations that appear non-linear, but that allow the audience to empathise with their predicaments.

The situations within The Various Lives of Infinite Nullity take place in the afterlife, where the three dead characters contemplate the past, and present their feelings through evocative actions. We begin by viewing 'Virginie' (the motivational speaker) as she skips using a rope. A loud bang rings throughout the theatre space and she dramatically falls to the floor. Blood is on her brow, which the housewife tastes and then decides to put in a sandwich. The absurdity carries on when we see the housewife lying on the floor herself. She begins to rant about her middle class existence and continues to do so when a plastic sheet is pulled over her. The rant carries on as the other performers cover the sheet in dirt. These situations exemplify the tone and humour throughout the performance.

The set design itself is minimal, but this adds to the unique and interesting world that is on display. Semi-transparent white plastic sheets work as a backdrop and are placed on the floor. This creates a claustrophobic and clinical environment that suits the tone of the piece well, and creates the impression that this world has its own time, space and reality.

Despite the performers complementing one another through performance and snippets of dialogue, we never really get to know Ramsay's character. His situation is not as vivid as the others, meaning the audience is less affected by his death and afterlife.

The Various Lives of Infinite Nullity is absurd and alarming, but it does well to convey the seriousness of the subject matter without mockery or disrespect, but instead with humour. This makes the performance feel vibrant, unnerving and enjoyable with as many laughs as there are winces.

Reviews by Steven Fraser

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Performances

The Blurb

Award-winning Clout Theatre cannibalise the literature of Flann O’Brien as a trio of nameless vagabonds stumble through a rowdy and interminable landscape. ‘Gleeful drollery’ **** (Herald).