Chutney

Reece Connolly
The Bunker and Flux Theatre
The Bunker

Will Adolphy and Isabel Della-Porta Credit: Rah Petherbridge
Will Adolphy and Isabel Della-Porta Credit: Rah Petherbridge
Isabel Della-Porta Credit: Rah Petherbridge

Perfectly planted between the 4 concrete pillars that make up the playing space of The Bunker Theatre is a gleaming white kitchen, minimalist, modern but ultimately devoid of soul.

Taking root in this bland but trendy environment are Claire and Gregg, a normal young couple who are busy working their way through a tick box of life milestones—graduation, respectable jobs, home, engagement and as it transpires… feeding their mutual blood lust. What begins with a small dog soon extends to hedgehogs and rabbits—no local pet is safe as their arsenal of weaponry grows and their eagerness to share the experience together quickens their pulses and increases their sex drive.

Juxtaposing seemingly liberal attitudes, ethical purchases and a law-abiding lifestyle with a high-handed attitude, that they are simply predators at the top of the food chain. Reece Connolly’s script reveals the couple’s previously buried hypocrisy, disdain for the world around them and each other.

Georgie Staight’s direction is as precise as Claire’s crossbow aim, with taut pace and zinging one-liners delivered in confidence to a bemused audience. Jokes about John Lewis and white privilege land with ease but there’s an underlying danger reflected in the calm moments before animalistic excitement sweeps the characters into their own world.

As the highly-strung couple, Will Adolphy and Isabel Della-Porta are utterly convincing, navigating their way through the highs and lows of a relationship that also involves a barbaric hobby. Alternating between practical, impulsive, comedic and downright murderous their interplay is intriguing, engaging and increasingly absurd.

This is a nasty and insidious script; brutal and razor sharp—in the best possible way. As Connolly notes in the programme, Claire and Greg are bad people but how different are they from so many of us? Justifying our actions and feeling smug in our outward displays of goodness?

Chutney is an uncomfortable, often hilarious and terrifying glimpse into the darkness of a pruned and polished suburbia. Ridiculous yet entirely plausible.

Reviewer: Amy Yorston