by Zahid Fayyaz
This is a new two-hander from Clown Funeral, a West Midlands based company who are also associates artists of the New Diorama Theatre, a hotbed for new work. It tells a slightly twisted tale of two strangers who meet, fight, and then form a friendship. This companionship is one based on a connection which neither quite seems to be able to express into words, but rather by attacking each other.
Consisting of one male (Patrick Tobin) and one female actor (Freddie Paul), this was a highly entertaining, 45 minutes of movement and dry quips, with an underlying sexual tension at times. On a basic set with the odd costume change and prop, the cast manage to still evoke a variety of settings and scenarios – like fighting in a car park, conversing in a prison cell, and having a dip in a cold ocean on a UK beach. This being a very early preview, it is lacking emotional heft or deeper meaning. However, the script and performances already seem spot-on, and most certainly seem to have the potential to develop into something better. The staged fighting scenes were scrappy but were definitely intense at times, and certainly a highlight of the show.
This performance only has three dates for this run at VAULT Festival, but I would be very surprised if this doesn’t have a longer life at some point in the future. Though it still needs fleshing out, this show is hugely promising in an initial preview, and one to look forward to for when it inevitably returns.
A Pattern of Bad Behaviour runs through 20 February.The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.