A charming Fringe treat that’s at the same time as light as a feather and as heavy as an anvil, Like Animals interrogates whether we’ll ever learn how to communicate with each other effectively.
SUPERFAN’s Like Animals is an experiment and an exploration, that looks into human relationships through its comparison to the rapport between people and their animals. Specifically, it interrogates the romantic relationship between actors on stage – plus a couple of real-life, documented cases where scientists formed distinct types of bonds with animals whilst teaching them to speak.
A true Fringe show with a simple, economical stage design and small cast, Like Animals covers an ambitiously vast topic with a great dose of humour. Relying heavily – and justifiably – on the acting skills of Kim Donohoe and Pete Lannon under the direction of Ellie Dubois, the performance brings Peter the Dolphin and Alex the Parrot back to life: both subjects of experiments in the 60’s and 70’s to see how viable it was that animals could learn English. Humour is inescapable as Peter the Dolphin is expected to start picking up vocabulary, in a project funded by none other than NASA and ‘in case aliens attack’ – a ridiculous historical fact that Donohoe and Lannon fully utilise.
What makes Like Animals stand out is the combination of the piece’s good humour, the palpable joy of performing it which both actors display – and yet its deeper, almost philosophical musing on the possibility of increased communication between living beings. Not truly concerned with whether dolphins will ever truly speak to humans (or aliens), the production prefers to interrogate whether people will ever learn to communicate with other people more effectively. To what extent, regardless of the benefit of a shared language, do we really understand each other, even hear what the other is saying? Being a couple themselves, Kim Donohoe and Pete Lannon use their own relationship for the exploration.
A charming Fringe treat that’s at the same time as light as a feather and as heavy as an anvil, I really recommend this one.