Crocodile Fever @ Traverse Theatre
This astounding play by Meghan Tyler takes every left-turn imaginable, and is all the better for it
To be blunt, Crocodile Fever is a smack in the face in all of the best ways possible. Dark, hilarious, violent, gruesome, wholesome and a clusterfuck of religious iconography and blasphemy – and you have to get behind every second. It's a story of sisterhood; a portrayal of a timeless bond that has stood tremendously difficult trials. It has themes of female and Irish oppression and also addresses sexual abuse.
Sisters Fianna and Alannah (Lisa Dwyer Hogg and Lucianne McEvoy) are entirely relatable. Rebellious Fianna returns home after hearing of her father’s passing; meanwhile Alannah, a mousey cleanliness freak, is tending to the house. The paralyzing anxiety McEvoy conveys, contrasting Dwyer Hogg's fiery outbursts, is exquisite.
Tyler wanted to write something that would excite 17-year olds. Well – she has (this reviewer say, as assuredly as a man nearing thirty can). They’ll also find it touching, disturbing, and hopefully, beyond the laughs, they see a well-crafted narrative of sisterhood, patriarchy and the ill effects of giving up on someone ‘troubled’.
Rife with imagery, Grace Smart’s set design and Rachael Canning’s puppet creation are exceptional. They perfectly capture the slow, reptilian weight of archaic patriarchy from simple physical movements to the show's finale.
Holding no punches, Crocodile Fever takes every left-turn imaginable. It doesn't so much throw you down the rabbit hole as toss you into the gaping maw of a hungry beast. Crocodile Fever will put people off, and it bloody well should. If it didn’t have that streak of rebellious, finger-flipping attitude, it wouldn’t work nearly as well as it does.
Crocodile Fever, Traverse Theatre (Traverse 1), until 25 Aug (not 12 or 19), various times, £15-22