There’s something really unsettling about 1950s suburbia, and What If They Ate The Baby? really taps into that feeling as it plunges deeply into the aesthetic of a stereotypical representation of the American Dream.
It's really difficult to look away from Roland and Rice's performance
Two neighbouring housewives in 1950s suburbia, Shirley (Natasha Roland) and Dottie (Xhloe Rice) go through the motions of what is expected of a housewife; keeping the house tidy, making sure dinner is on the table, and keeping tabs on the neighbours as their worlds unravel around them.
There’s something intrinsically sweet in the pastel aesthetic of the set and costume, but to a degree where we can’t bring ourselves to trust it. It’s too neat and put together, and Roland and Rice do an excellent job of scratching away at the veneer that hangs over the show. There’s a sense of a threat; it’s in the doorbell, footsteps and increasing panic that Roland and Rice exhibit as events progress, everything becoming more frantic and unhinged as the show progresses.
Roland and Rice tap into the stifling nature of American suburbia, which they are able to show through their demeanour, narrative, soundscapes and physical comedy. The pair are incredibly expressive and deliberate performers; they hold our hand through everything they do, exaggerating certain aspects to really nail home the underlying commentary on the performative nature of their characters’ interactions and building tension throughout the show.
What If They Ate The Baby? is a gold-mine of analysis that is performed with a high degree of sophistication; there’s so much sub-context in everything that the pair do to the point where we really can’t help analysing everything that we see onstage. It's really difficult to look away from Roland and Rice's performance.