The title Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve F*cked takes you straight to the point of this brilliantly outrageous play centred around Bobby’s blunderingly comic pillow talk with a dog, a cat and a goat.
Rob Hayes has created a script that is surprisingly subtle and intelligent for such a taboo subject matter. Bobby’s monologues develop past jokes made at the expense of his bestial companions, into moving observations about feeling out-of-place and lonely. With no actual animals on stage, Hayes perfectly captures the nervous ramblings of someone who gets no reply, drawing out Bobby’s awkward devotion to his bedfellows as he tries to fill the inevitable silence.
Linus Karp is wonderfully skilled as Bobby, sustaining a convincing conversation with the invisible animals and reacting to their imagined mannerisms in a poignantly delicate way. At no point does his energy drop; he seems natural in his absurd role, adept at balancing both the funny and the emotionally loaded elements. Sharing a plate of Purina with an invisible cat is in itself a testament to the commitment he brings to the stage.
The script’s greatest achievement, brought to light by Karp’s sensitive realisation of the role, is creating an affable character of what would traditionally be depicted as a lewd human being. Hayes draws a curiosity-filled audience with his brazen title and creates an atmosphere that fosters sympathetic attachment to Bobby, cleverly toying with our moral categories.
Awkward Conversations will challenge your conception of normality and so skilfully accustom you to the absurd situation that you’ll leave thinking you just witnessed an average one-night stand.