Police Working To Contradictory Targets, Claims Play

Pig, New Diorama Theatre ★★★☆☆

Lettie Mckie
By Lettie Mckie Last edited 35 months ago
Police Working To Contradictory Targets, Claims Play Pig, New Diorama Theatre 3

Pig is a dark comedy made in response to interviews with actual serving police officers. We first meet colleagues Ted (James Stayner) and Coral (Alice Beaumont) on a night out where both are drunk and seem likely to get together at any moment. Instead they end up getting a kebab pizza and blearily heading for home. Set to a blaring backdrop of club music and jangling video game tunes Pig pits the two cops against a proverbial robber, the troubled Gaz, an innocent soul who keeps finding himself inadvertently on the wrong side of the law.

The stage is a raised circular plinth surrounded by movable shelving units packed with neatly arranged plastic boxes containing an odd assortment of props and costumes. Inspired by the clinical and ordered environment of a police station the set is impressively versatile and, aided by a huge array of coloured light sequences, creates a myriad of different moods in this fast-moving piece.

Matthew May, as Gaz, gives a gentle performance as a lonely young man trapped in a world where fighting crime is just a box ticking exercise — the justice system so murky that it causes him more harm than good. Where this character fails to deliver is the way he tells his story through a spoken word monologue; sentimental and less interesting than the 'will they, won’t they' drama between the two police officers'. Stayner and Beaumont, conversely, have natural chemistry in abundance, presenting us with fully rounded characters we can genuinely care about and relate to.

Pig — which builds to a dramatic crescendo involving all three characters — is refreshingly honest in its exposure of the bureaucratic reality of everyday life in the police force, revealing how officers are often working towards contradictory targets. If May's character had more depth and colour to it, the play would be all the more powerful.

Pig is on at New Diorama Theatre, 15-16 Triton Street, Regents Place, NW1 3BF, until 19 September. Tickets £12 (£10 concessions). Londonist saw this show on a complimentary ticket.

Last Updated 17 September 2015