“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.
This is a story about Alan and Jane and their daughter Sarah. Alan and Jane have changed, but having a child always changes people, especially when your daughter’s a crocodile.
Crocodile is a dark comedy that combines pitch-black humour with an increasingly nightmarish sense of menace which promises to leave audiences both delighted and disturbed.
Joe Eyre’s debut play Crocodile, originally selected to open the first ever Pint-Sized, a quarterly of new writing that began at the Jermyn Street Theatre in 2015 and now based at The Bunker, will run at London’s VAULT Festival 2017 from 1 February to 5 February 2017 in a venue used for the first time as part of this year’s festival: the Network Theatre. Joining Joe Eyre (graduate of Guildhall School of Music and Drama; recent credits include King Charles III (West End) and French Without Tears (Orange Tree Theatre and ETT UK Tour)) to complete the cast is Rhiannon Sommers (graduate of Birmingham School of Acting; recent credits include The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith, Bloody Poetry and Anyone Can Whistle (Jermyn Street Theatre) and Butley (West End)).
Crocodile is directed by Matt Maltby, whose work as a director has been selected for Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of The Fringe. The show is also designed by Clancy Flynn (Trainspotting (The Vaults and UK Tour), Piece of Silk and Victorian and Gay (Hope Theatre), Portia (Theatre 503) and Valkyrie (VAULT Festival 2016)) and Odinn Orn Hilmarsson (Stone Face (Finborough Theatre) and Radioman (Old Red Lion Theatre)).
Joyous Gard is a brand new theatre company founded by siblings Joe Eyre and Beth Eyre (Wooden Overcoats (iTunes Best of 2015, Prix Europa 2016 nominee), The Awkward Ghost (VAULT Festival 2016), The Alchemist (Rose Playhouse) and The Waiting Room (Arts Theatre)) and producer Frankie Parham (Luce (Southwark Playhouse), DENIM (VAULT Festival 2016), Waiting for Godot (Arcola Theatre) and Spring Awakening (Edinburgh Fringe Festival)) with a slate of productions in development for this, its first, year. Crocodile is the company’s first production.
Joe Eyre wrote Crocodile and plays Alan. He trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and then began work as an understudy in the Wyndham’s Theatre transfer of Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III under the direction of Rupert Goold and Whitney Mosery. Joe has just finished performing in a national tour of the ETT/Orange Tree Theatre production of French Without Tears, directed by Paul Miller. Other theatre credits include Three Short Plays by Samuel Beckett (Whispering Beasts, Old Red Lion), As You Like It (Creation Theatre), and Mojo (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, directed by Matt Maltby). Joe is a member of The Factory Theatre and Oneohone Theatre Company.
Rhiannon Sommers plays Jane. She trained at Birmingham School of Acting. Theatre credits include: Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Felicia in The Fatal Friendship, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Dido in Dido, Queen of Carthage (Rose Theatre, Bankside), Titania/Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Brockley Jack), Rosalind in As You Like It (Creation Theatre, Oxford), Charley’s Aunt, Round and Round the Garden and Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest (Frinton Summer Theatre), Olivia in Twelfth Night and Rosalind in As You Like It (Guildford Shakespeare Company), Agnes Ebbsmith in The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith, Mary Shelley in Bloody Poetry and Anyone Can Whistle (Jermyn Street Theatre), Butley (West End), Mephistopheles in Doctor Faustus (Place Theatre, Bedford) and Viola in Twelfth Night (Studio Tour).
Matt Maltby directs. Matt runs Pint-Sized, an evening of new writing attached to The Bunker. His work as a director has been selected for Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of The Fringe, and his writing has been performed at The Criterion, the Jermyn Street Theatre and the New Diorama. He works primarily as an actor, and is a member of The Factory Theatre and The HandleBards. Other work includes tours of Japan, the USA and UK.
Clancy Flynn is the lighting designer. She is a theatre designer and technician based in London. A New York native, she studied theatre at Trinity College Dublin before coming to the UK. Previous lighting credits include: Trainspotting (The Vaults and UK Tour), 2 Become 1 and Dorian Gray (King’s Head Theatre), Paper Hearts (Waterloo East Theatre and Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Piece of Silk and Victorian and Gay (Hope Theatre), Portia (Theatre503), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Pleasance Theatre Islington), The Awkward Ghost, The Signal-Man, Best Served Cold, and Valkyrie (VAULT Festival 2016), Fire Burn (international tour), Click (Ophelia Theatre), and Little Red Riding Hood (Gaiety Theatre and Swansea Grand).
Odinn Orn Hilmarsson is the sound designer. He is an Icelandic composer and sound designer based in London. Since graduating with an MA in Digital Film Production from the University of York in 2012, Odinn has been providing music and sounds for projects all over London and parts of the UK. Recently he has worked on Stone Face at the Finborough Theatre, Radioman at the Old Red Lion Theatre and on the podcast Hector Vs The Future.
Beth Eyre is a producer, actor, voice-over artist and director. She trained at Drama Studio London, and is associate producer of Mercurius Theatre Company. She is perhaps best known as the voice of Antigone Funn in the podcast sitcom Wooden Overcoats, for which she also produces the live shows, and for which she has just been nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role in the 2016 Audio Verse Awards. Theatre credits include The Awkward Ghost (Crowley & Co., VAULT Festival 2016), The Alchemist (Rose Playhouse), A Woman Killed With Kindness (Read Not Dead), The Devil Is An Ass (Rose Playhouse), The Waiting Room (Arts Theatre), Monster Hunters (Crowley & Co.), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Cambridge Shakespeare Festival), The Massacre At Paris (Rose Playhouse), Gut Girls (Brockley Jack), Emma (Oneohone Theatre Company, Tristan Bates Theatre). Voice-over credits include Drayton Trench (Zut Alors), Hector VS The Future (Andy Goddard), Peace & War, Amok and Angel (Wireless Theatre Company).
Frankie Parham is a producer of theatre, film and comedy. Credits include the UK première of Luce by JC Lee (Southwark Playhouse, 2016), Oliver Dench’s One-ManHamlet (Théâtre National de Nice, 2016), DENIM (various, 2014-2017), Waiting for Godot (Arcola Theatre, 2014), sketch comedy double-act Scene Selection (various, 2013-2016), Twelfth Night (UK tour, 2013), Spring Awakening (Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2012), Hamlet (UK tour, 2011), Henry V (OUDS/Thelma Holt international tour to Tbilisi, Georgia, 2009) and Предложение (Anton Chekhov’s The Proposal performed in Russian, 2007). He has also worked for the RSC (Revolutions season), Moscow’s Sovremennik Theatre, Cheek by Jowl, Shakespeare’s Globe (Globe to Globe season), Theatre Royal Plymouth, Sputnik Theatre Company, Whispering Beasts, Sovereign Arts, antic | face and the critically-acclaimed Oneohone Theatre Company.
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1 February – 5 February 2017
6.30pm (no latecomers admitted)
246A Lower Road
London SE1 8SF
Tickets: £12. A limited number of 2-for-1 tickets available for 1 February, 2 February and 5 February