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 The Theatreguide.London Review

Dead Party Animals
Hope Theatre  Spring 2014

Thomas Pickles' one-hour monologue, which he performs, describes what is for many a typical weekend night out – dressing up, clubbing, drinking and ending up either sick or in a fight. His inventive imagery and use of language evokes the scenes well and is a source of pleasure in itself, though his narrative power is a bit unsteady. 

The evening of drinking, dancing and lusting takes on a nightmarish quality for the narrator as his fuddled vision keeps morphing into monster scenarios and into memories of a specific previous drunken night out on the pull. This leads him eventually to the vaguely formulated realisation that neither that occasion nor this one was as happy and innocent as he'd like to think them. 

But the narrative is by its very nature confused and incomplete, and its ending too abrupt to be satisfying. This lapse, and a sometimes disconcerting jumble of styles – now simple prose, now the complex internal rhymes of rap – give the piece the feel of a work in progress, and it is perhaps one more rewrite away from its full realisation. 

What don't need reworking are the instantly recognisable descriptions like the portraits he paints of a gaggle of girls and their painstakingly cool male counterparts preparing to go out or the dilemma of how to react when the girl you yearn for is throwing up, and such beautifully realised throwaway descriptions as 'spilt drinks and spilt handbags' or a girl with 'legs as long as a queue at Primark', and it is in them that the real power and pleasure of Pickles' writing and performance lie.

Gerald Berkowitz


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Review -  Dead Party Animals 2014

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