Trog & Clay: An Imagined History Of The Electric Chair

Article by Renée Rowland | 23 Aug 2011
  • Trog and clay

While working on inventing electricity Thomas Edison said ‘I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work’: words which similarly capture the energy, determination, relentless perseverance of the Fringe, as well as the latent potential of Trog & Clay.

The play tells the semi-fictional story around the first death by electric chair in the USA, and electricity inventors George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison. Magically, the show is more philosophical than morbid but the comic effect it seeks doesn't land in the audience. While the story is strong and original, the script and execution – no pun intended – do not capitalise on the potentially brilliant ideas.

The play is told through the perspective of Trog and Clay, two well-imagined 1860s hobos, a duo which have been likened to Laurel and Hardy but are more like Steinbeck’s George and Lennie, with a dash of Kath and Kim: a companionable mix both tragic and comic.

Good theatre transcends the imagination, and while this story certainly captures the imagination, the show doesn’t. It is full of potential - hark Edison's words, the show is not a failure, but a step towards a better version of itself.

An Imagined History Of The Electric Chair, C ECA £8.50 21-29 August