The title of the show and the name of the company drew me to this production. Why I am an Avocado by Elephant in the Closet didn't sound mad in any mediocre sense, rather it had all the makings of being a completely bonkers piece of theatre which I would either regret choosing to see or perhaps love. As it turned out, it is completely bonkers, makes very little sense, and I did love it.
A completely bonkers piece of theatre
Jack Boal and Rebecka Öberg graduated from Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance just before the pandemic set in. Like so many others their plans were put on hold, but they were able to develop the madness that forms this show. Now they are delighted to see it come to fruition, like any avocado, at the fabulous Rialto Theatre as part of the Brighton Fringe and we can delight in seeing two remarkable entertainers take to the stage.
It’s one of those chatty shows where you are greeted and spoken to as you enter the auditorium, and you might even have your name shouted out to the rest of the guests so that they know who you are. Then the potentially life-changing HTC convention which you’ve signed up to begins. There are more greetings and welcomes, followed by competitive banter between our two hosts as to who really is running the event, and assertions of loyalty to the unspecified cause for which we are all assembled. Somehow an agony aunt show materialises in which Boal deals with a series of letters from viewers in a style that is akin to a cross between Julian Clary and Joe Lycett.
Meanwhile the countdown of the top eleven reasons for being an avocado intersperses the scenes, while Öberg continues to recite passages from Romeo and Juliet to a member of the audience randomly chosen to be on the receiving end. Other nonsense and disconnected craziness is woven into the event and it’s important to listen very carefully at the end to find out just what HTC stands for.
To confirm my interpretation of this show, this is their own description of it from their press release. ‘This interactive comedy of queer narratives, characters and confessions tie together with the question we all ask: what makes me an avocado? Am I ripe? Do I come in a pair with unnecessary plastic protecting me from squeezing hands? Or am I just soft, single, left in the corner, destined to be part of the never-ending food waste problem? There might be an answer. There probably won’t be. But, we'll definitely need your help.’ So, you see, they really are as nutty as a fruitcake.
We laughed, we joined in and we reveled in the joy of seeing two confident young actors unashamedly flaunt their creativity and talent on the stage. We could also rejoice that live theatre was back and that a new generation was leading its return.