Peepolykus, Rhinoceros

Review in Issue 14-2 | Summer 2002

When word got out that Peepolykus were doing a ‘proper play’, rumour had it that they were tackling David Mamet… But no, perhaps more understandably they have gone for Ionesco’s absurdist classic Rhinoceros, in which a town’s population turns into rhinoceroses (rhinoceri? It’s one of those schoolgirl dilemmas) – finally leaving one isolated human being prepared to take on all comers.

I’m pleased to report that this is a good choice – the script offering opportunities for Peepolykus to devise the sort of physical comedy set pieces that have made their reputation and also to explore some rather different ways of working, not least the chance to be part of a larger ensemble. All of the company work well together – but special praise goes to Flick Ferdinando who has exactly the sort of stage presence and energy that complements the long-established physical virtuosity of the company’s regular trio.

It’s a long play – and the first act is stronger than the second. There is something of a dilemma here, for although the play is a good vehicle for Peepolykus, there are problems with the second act which, although well realised, feels a bit pointless – and there is something rather passé about the play’s 20th Century alienation ending (both these faults perhaps belong to the play rather than the company – the challenge is to overcome them). It feels – at this early stage of the production’s life – that some work needs doing to push the second act to a far more extreme exploration of godlessness and communication breakdown – perhaps taking the powerlessness of words and use of sound to its logical (or illogical) conclusion?

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Mar 2002

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-2
p. 28