Crocodile- 4*


Network Theatre

4 February 2017


“Joe Eyre was mesmerising to watch, keeping the audience hanging on every word”


Written and performed by Joe Eyre (co starring Rhiannon Sommers), Crocodile is running as part of this year’s VAULT Festival at the Network Theatre. The play explores how the lives of Alan and Jane have changed considerably, now that they have a child, who just happens to be a crocodile.

On first reading the press release, I wondered if this was a play for children given its somewhat bizarre description; yet this turned out to be a very dark comedy, with some snappy (first and last crocodile related line) twists along the way. Certainly not one for the kids.
In terms of the set, there is a chair and little else, give or take a couple of props along the way. The play is split into two monologues, offering first the perspective of Alan and then for the latter (and shorter) part, a view point from Jane.
The show started slightly uncomfortably as Alan speaks toward the audience to address someone (possibly Jane, a neighbour or someone else … I was unsure …), about whether they have called the police, or the zoo. A lady in the front row was answering the questions – not sure whether this was the aim, but it was a little bit like a fingernails on a blackboard moment. This was the start of the play, so at that point I’d predicted this was an omen of worse to come.
Thankfully, this seemed to be just a hiatus in what otherwise became a more and more intriguing and captivating performance. Joe Eyre was mesmerising to watch, keeping the audience hanging on every word as the plot twisted and turned from being the story of happy new parents into something much more sinister and gruesome.
This is described as a dark comedy, and there are some clever lines (aided by Eyre’s sharp delivery), that keep you smiling. Yet it’s mostly not a laugh out loud piece, and that’s not a criticism as it works chillingly well just the way it is.
Rhiannon Sommers does a great job in relating Jane’s story but it’s Joe Eyre who steals the limelight. Crocodile has a lot of potential. A few tweaks here and there and this has the makings of a memorable piece.



Produced by Joyous Gard and  directed by Matt Maltby, Crocodile is at VAULT Festival 2017 until 5 February.



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