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A CurtainUp London Review
I have a friend in North Carolina where Pig Farm is set who found an old map with a branch of the river called the Fucking Creek. This waterway had been renamed on recent maps as Modesty Creek. It is into one of these creeks that in this play, Tom (Dan Fredenburgh) tips a lorry load of pig swill on top of a cavorting, skinny dipping bunch of kids. However while Tom is illegally dumping pig effluent, his wife Tina (Charlotte Parry) is revisiting her passionate side with Tim (Erik Odom) the youth who is on work parole at the pig farm instead of finishing his sentence in a remand institution.
The "dirty" sex finds Tina's white nightdress covered in mud but Tom, having got drunk after dumping his lorry load, doesn't seem to notice. Tina is fed up with her life, doing the laundry and cooking and wants a baby but Tom is too unsure about the farm's future with the impending visit of the government inspector.
The next morning, we see G-man from the Environmental Protection Agency Teddy (Stephen Tompkinson) arrive at Tom's farm. His job, along with Trevor, Tyler and Theo and is to count the pigs and check that the farm is being run properly. Teddy is packing heat as he glorifies his role and after catching Tina in a clinch with sexually awakened Tim, he comes on to Tina.
Things go from bad to worse and there is much old fashioned farcical comedy to laugh at before violence takes hold. The fights have realistic timing and bone crunching sounds as a man's head is slammed against the table. In the final act when we have to hear of the end of the well loved sow, we also witness grisly ends which give this comedy an uncomfortable feel.
The performances are super, their timing is immaculate and we sympathise with these poor farmers eeking out an existence with the price of pork and bacon dropping and farming feeling more like nostril arresting stench and muddy factory work than an open air idyll. But this production has too much light hearted humour for us to seriously believe in the everyday drudge or the off stage truck crash aftermath or seriously think about the damage to the environment of cheap food.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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