Skip to main content

No results found

Hanborough Gate banner
What's On, Culture, Theatre, Comedy

Review: Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve F*cked

More relatable than you might expect

divider
Sam Bennett
DB 20190404 0059 01718 2 Copy

What’s pleasing about Rob HayesAwkward Conversations is that the bestiality aspect doesn’t feel like merely a vehicle to explain loneliness and toxic masculinity – it has too much of a starring role – nor is it all there is to this one-hander. Bobby (Linus Karp) delivers five monologues. The first four take place following sexual encounters with animals, the final one just before he attempts sex with a bear. So, it’s pretty prevalent, but interspersed with anecdotes of his father’s disappointment in him.

Hayes stops things getting boring by varying the tone of the monologues. The opening – which can be referred to as ‘dog’ – is a familiar morning-after engagement in which Bobby tries to make small talk, worries about offending his four-legged companion, doesn’t want to appear clingy at the same time as not wishing them to leave. He is more flirtatious in ‘cat’ and rather confrontational in ‘monkey’. For me the most impressive segment is ‘goat’, where Bobby re-enacts at length the moment he walked out of his job as part of the monologue. Again, Hayes switches things up, taking us beyond the realms of his protagonist just talking to his sexual partner.

The father-son relationship is touched on regularly, most poignantly at the end when – fleeing the police – Bobby revisits the woodland he once camped in with his dad. He recalls how he wanted to catch fish for the pair of them to eat, be the provider of dinner for the night, but it doesn’t work out. Fitting an animal should feature in the tale. Karp goes on to emotionally (though with very good control) detail the breaking up of Bobby’s family; a split, remarriage, the births of half-siblings.

The actor portrays a Bobby you can’t help feeling for, and shows himself more than capable as a comic actor – perfectly executing lines like ‘I would install a cat-flap but I’m not a slut.’ His character is more relatable than you might expect. Yes, his sex is with animals. But the delusion that follows – plans of running away together, going into business together, the belief that one night of intercourse could mean a lifetime of happiness – is quite human.

Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve F*cked is at Oxford’s Burton Taylor until 25 September.

Photography © Dave Bird

RECOMMENDED

Vitreous Bodies II nukteq
Sat 7 Dec 2019

Errol Francis is the Artistic Director and CEO of the London-based organisation Culture&, a charity promoting diversity in the workforce, specifically within the arts and heritage sectors.

TSM and TSD cdkmgp
Sat 7 Dec 2019

The Snowman and the Snowdog

Hilary Audus and Joanna Harrison

The Snowman was aired on Christmas eve in 1982 as a showcase programme for the new Channel Four, dancing light-footed on our screens with festive cheer. Thirty years later, his companion The

188185 qddetw
Sat 7 Dec 2019

The Nutcracker

It doesn't feel like Christmas without it

Birmingham Royal Ballet presents the ballet that’s become a staple of many a Christmas. The now annual revival of Sir Peter Wright’s acclaimed production of The Nutcracker returns

297248 The Boy in the Dress rehearsal photos  2019 2019 kd3cro
Sat 7 Dec 2019

David Walliams

on The Boy in the Dress

David Walliams’ heartwarming comedy is brought to the stage for the first time in a musical with all new songs from Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, script by former RSC playwright in