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Exterminating Angel

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Another gem arrives at the Tristan Bates theatre. Exterminating Angel is a modern day comedy with a surrealist twist, and is here for one week only following a sold-out UK tour.

The drama is set around five thirty-something characters who are unable to leave a dinner party having become trapped in a time loop they seem only vaguely aware of.

With low lamp light, jazz music and the remains of a dinner party, this story jumps in at the end of the night, and stays there. Finding themselves indefinitely suspended in the final stages of the evening, the group struggle to navigate the niceties of prolonged conversation. The result is a wonderfully funny and oddly uncomfortable descent into an increasingly sinister excavation of everyday life.

Working within a set framework, the actors are at liberty to improvise. This sets up a wonderfully natural backdrop for the unfolding surrealism and evokes the more suburban settings in JG Ballard’s work. Future Ruins successfully and very comically recreates the social strata of London’s semi-secure. The characters are people we recognise and they’re talking about a life most Londoners will nod along to.

As the company fail to go home, the banal chatter of middle England circles ever more tightly around the minute of everyday existence. Life is deconstructed into fragments of Café Nero cards, mobile phones and commuting to work.

The result is an uncanny defamiliarising of the regular and a rich destabalising of these most mundane components that construct day to day life.

- Jessica Frith


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