An elephant has been delivered to a suburban home. That’s not a problem in itself, of course, but it’s the wrong size. A young couple try to exchange it for a snake sent to a house up the road, but the snake’s too short. Uncle Ted will know what to do, but he’s had a sex change and in any case, he hasn’t read a thing since his 4am start that morning.
N. F. Simpson’s absurdist play from 1957 is full of bizarre plot twists, unexpected statements, non sequiturs. The world it depicts is similar to ours, but turned on a strange angle. The piece raises plenty of laughs just from the sheer zaniness of the plot – and, it has to be said, the slightly dated nature of the events Simpson depicts.
Bablake Seekers’ production is a breathless affair: you wish that director David Prescott had had more confidence in the text to allow for a more heightened delivery and pauses for laughter. As it stands, it’s rather rushed and often spoken so quietly as to be almost inaudible.
Which is a shame, because the show has a great deal of charm. Georgi Mosley as a nubile young female Uncle Ted is a scene-stealer, and Alex Hoare and Leah Judge as the young couple Bro and Middie Paradock give convincingly suburban performances. In the end, though, it’s Simpson’s wondrously bizarre tale that shines through.