Peepolykus, Goose Nights

Review in Issue 12-2 | Summer 2000

Peepolykus have established a well-deserved reputation as a trio who create superbly comic physical theatre. Using the classic clowning strategy of building on the strengths and vulnerabilities of each performer to devise characters and situations, they create a ludicrously funny alternative reality that parodies both the outside world and theatre itself.

In many ways, Goose Nights is a continuation of that process. Having slaughtered Chekhov in their last show, they now turn to Greek theatre with a similar disregard for international diplomacy. If Horses for Courses set out to explore what is funny about the Russians, Goose Nights does the same for the Greeks. Thus, we have reluctant hero Panos (the waiter Javier Marzan) transported to Olympus to be set the task of saving mankind. David Santis Zeus is another variant on his usual role of the leader who cannot keep order, whilst John Nicholson, as always, is the fool – Hades in a fur coat, Hermes in a track suit.

This would have been quite enough for me. However, they break with the formula to include another performer, elderly actress Mary Sandling, who plays both the batty patroness Lady Elgin and Hebe, the Goddess of Youth. Her function in the performance is to sustain one joke that old women are boring and sexually unattractive. It is a device that has been used repeatedly in British comedy, and one that wears thin. The core members of Peepolykus challenge the joke of ‘foreignness’ by slipping in and out of character with an ease and fluidity born of years of devising comic theatre. Mary Sandling doesn’t have this ability – perhaps an intentional casting decision, but one that seems too cruel for comfort.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 2000

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-2
p. 22