You Are Frogs @ Venue 13
Highly captivating new piece of theatre
Directed by Bora Kyung Min Lee and Colin Yeo, You Are Frogs is based on Maria Irene Fornes’ play Mud, an absurdist dark comedy about relationships, sex and decay. The two frogs Mabel (Nic Prior) and Garry (Xcaret Estrada-Soto) are one day joined by a metal puppet, Bill (David Blindauer), and together, the trio struggle with their own feelings of restlessness, lust and illness.
It's a play full of conflation and subversion; gender roles are reversed and undermined onstage, and it's never entirely clear how the frogs, Mabel and Garry, are related. At times they seem to be mother and son, and at other times, lovers. As Garry says at the show’s opening, ‘I’m a sick boy. I’m an old man,’ immediately making it difficult to pinpoint the exact identity of each of the characters.
The performances themselves are highly captivating and easy to watch. All three cast members are able to balance slap-stick moments with comedic scripting. You Are Frogs is a very physical piece of theatre in many ways, and the masks created by Natalie McIntyre are both bizarre and beautiful.
At times the show seems almost satirical, using tropes from traditional performances including over-egged romantic moments and long stares into the distance. The comedic elements are slightly jarring, and the play often feels slightly off-kilter.
You Are Frogs attempts to be as abrasive as possible, although could perhaps go further in making the audience feel uncomfortable. Despite this, it's a hugely entertaining and truly unusual analysis of the human condition, as told by a puppet and two frogs. It is certainly worth seeing and is, in many ways, one of a kind.
You Are Frogs, Venue 13, until 25 Aug, 4pm, £10-12
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