It’s tough being twenty in the countryside; especially if you’re straight out of university with a useless degree, or a local lad struggling to identify an ambition.
Author Simon Longman presents us with two pals with precious little purpose, suffering from the uselessness of youth. They were clearly unprepared by their school for life beyond ( a predicament which may have rung more true a generation ago ) and are already nostalgic for their lost childhoods.
Paul (Adam Redmore) is making hundreds of pointless phone calls in search of jobs beyond his experience and Snowy (Oliver Mott) does know what to do with himself other than succumb to parental pressures.
Longman gives them some very witty, machine gun dialogue – much of which I ‘remembered’ from my own youth…though I was surprised by the residual levels of childishness in their conversation. I would have pitched the naivety of their dialogue to be more like that of young teenagers.
But their sense of frustration is very palpable…until a chance encounter with a downed cow gives them a ‘project’. The poor beast is clearly ill and – rather than use adult sensibility and call for assistance – they try to help it themselves; hopelessly. What is initially an empowering experience only deepens their sense of failure.
It’s a very clever, amusing and original device. I enjoyed the banter; and the business of finding a plastic glove big enough to do a particularly mucky job is reliably funny…as toilet humour generally is.
The trouble is the central scenario is totally unlikely. Cows cost money. No farmer checking his herd twice a day would leave one lying around to fade away. Good comedy is based on reality…and the cow’s ultimate fate is laughable for all the wrong reasons.
I came away with a sense that the play was piggy backing on real rural issues rather than dealing with them head-on to an audience that already gets the picture.
Increasingly in Pentabus productions, we don’t actually see anything happen; and this show also feels a bit like a pilot for a radio drama.
Ultimately it’s an amusing but incomplete evening in the theatre.