The Boy Who Kicked Pigs (Salford)
Elise Gallagher sees that pigs can fly in this cult classic by Tom Baker.
A young boy with a nasty habit for kicking pigs. A recorder playing older sister with a beloved Pig called Trevor. Two newspaper workers delighted at the mere sniff of a "classified". And a Doctor and his Nurse who are far too preoccupied with themselves to listen to our protagonist: Robert. These are but a few of the characters that inhabit The Boy Who Kicked Pigs and are unbelievably shared between just four performers.
With the source material created by Doctor Who's Tom Baker it is easy to understand exactly how quirky it actually is. In all honesty I'd never heard of it and was slightly sceptical when I watched the promotional material yet I was pleasantly surprised. The combination of dark comedy, a vast range of characters and the odd musical number make it a perfectly enjoyable show, I would call you a liar if you told me you didn't at least crack a smile once.
The show has a noir motif, an almost Tim Burton feel with the characters and the gloomy gothic set. The performances were portrayed as if they were animated computer generated images, provoking hysterical laughter, especially when Nevis' (Hodgson) tone of voice goes from sweet and girly to I-didn't-think-it-was-possible-to-go-so-low in a split second. Her versatility in characters and the speed in which she has the audience in her palm projects a perfect example of ensemble acting. Cumming's infectious laughter was another trigger for the hysterics; with the ghost like make up and the clothing drained of colour you would be forgiven if you thought you were watching a cartoon character.
I don't want to ruin the narrative for you, but just know that during the closing scene you will find yourself laughing uncontrollably whilst turning to the person next to you and mouthing: "What the hell?" It's wickedly clever writing and the talent from all four participants allows the show to both understandable and gripping for all ages. Though I agree with the age restriction of audience members needing to be twelve or above as it's wickedly clever humour may go over some younger audience member's heads.
I found myself particularly impressed with the motorway scene where the four actors transform into different characters: either being those within the different cars or news reporters. The delivery is so fluent that it didn't feel rushed or overwhelming at all, it allowed even the slowest of spectators to understand with perfect clarity what was going on.
Pigs can fly, as this is perfection.
- Elise Gallagher