Originally written for Fest Magazine.
In the festering heart of suburbia, behind the neatly trimmed privet hedge, an intruder lurks. Or does he? This new piece by Fat Git Theatre, adapted from Peter Mortimer’s novella of the same name, prods at human neuroses with the blackest of humour, as one man finds his secure haven gradually transfigured into an anarchic nightmare.
Fat Git’s surreal and grotesque performance aesthetic finds its perfect partner in the swirling, dreamlike paranoia of Mortimer’s protagonist. Managing his single household with obsessively meticulous care, his control-crazed movements are watched with boredom and amusement by the wallpaper, until a distraction is found in the sudden appearance of a whistling stranger. As the lone bachelor struggles to maintain the order he clings to, things progressively fall apart.
The care taken in the crafting of this piece is evident, from the precisely judged looks with which the three wallpaper figures curiously regard the audience to the sinisterly dissonant sound effect of a finger skimming the edge of a wine glass. Menace infects the piece, generated by both the oddly ominous nonsense of the text and the choreographed strangeness of the performances.
As suffocatingly strange as Fat Git’s bizarre creation can be, this peculiarity traps the audience within the same unsettling nightmare world as the unravelling man at its centre. It also makes us think. Despite the dreamlike unreality of this world, it taps into something psychologically, uncannily true about loneliness and anxiety, remaining wedged in the mind long after it departs.