Theatre These Pigs ain’t no fable

These Pigs ain’t no fable

You might dismiss the children’s story of The Three Little Pigs as a benign parable told to children about making solid plans for rainy days – or for days when wolves abound. James Cairns, Rob van Vuuren and Albert Pretorius, under the direction of Tara Notcutt, brilliantly disabuse you of that from the outset of this innovative and fierce play. Don’t bring the littlies – this is no fairy tale.

Two little pigs, sa5ys the traditional story – which derives from an 1812 version by the Brothers Grimm – have been brutalised by the wolf, who has huffed and puffed and blown their flimsy houses down. That’s what we’re told. But when it comes to the third little pig, their younger brother, the story takes on the tone and focus of an actuality programme: there’s a police inquest going on, a docket is opened and a series of interrogations are on the table.

 

This tale of bloody angst, spiced with police susceptibility to corruption, takes anthropomorphism to a new level. The cast wear suits, but represent a hoard of animals, including a slaggish cat, a private investigator with an Irish accent (who is also a goat), a chief of police who is a chicken and a Doberman of a lieutenant. In the capabilities of a less accomplished ensemble, this idea might be ridiculous, but with the dead-pan professionalism of this team, the occasional bleat or snort feels appropriate – nay, dignified. While the piece is decidedly sinister, it never loses its tongue-in-cheek edge.

The twists in this play will distort what you may have been telling your children for years. Supported by a low-key set, lighting and sound design, with each cast member embodying several roles, this production chills and thrills. It’s theatre-making at its most pure and delightful.

The Three Little Pigs, St Andrew’s Hall, today, 7.30pm

– Robyn Sassen

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