Dead Party Animals at the Hope Theatre
The pressure is on for actor and writer Thomas Pickles: having recently won the inaugural Adrian Pagan Playwriting Award for Dead Party Animals, he has just begun a month long stint of the one-man play at the Hope Theatre in Islington.
Dead Party Animals is a monologue exploring the microcosmic existence of young Saturday night revellers; it’s a story of love and pain amid the shallow chaos of Sambuca, sex and spewing. Pickles is the one and only star, dexterously reciting his eventful Saturday night to the audience through a tightly-wound script littered with hilarious insights into the drinking culture of Britain’s youth.
Pickles’ talent as a writer and actor is phenomenal. Every word of the non-stop 55-minute address is carefully considered, and each line seeps into the next with a natural rhythm. He plays the documentary maker, an insider providing snapshots that descend from witty social commentary to a tumbling, hallucinatory surrealism exploring both beauty and evil in the seemingly simple lives of young party animals.
With no props or set, Dead Party Animals uses an immersive soundscape and clever lighting to enhance the performance, but in the intimate surroundings of the Hope Theatre, combined with Pickles’s charming wit and claustrophobic intensity i fine-tuned with direction from Adam Spreadbury-Maher – are more than enough to draw the audience into his world. His seamless transitions from reality to daydream provide sharp jolts of uncertainty; just as things seem comfortable and straightforward a dynamic is added that rips away all feelings of trust and plunges the audience into darkness.
Though a small production, Dead Party Animals delivers an enormous punch, thanks to Pickles’ engrossing performance and well-crafted script. The Hope Theatre is the perfect venue for this promising young talent and any theatre fan would be foolish to miss out.
Photos: Christopher Tribble
Dead Party Animals is at the Hope Theatre until 24th May 2014. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.