THE Dip is the theatrical equivalent of a ride on a big dipper. For sixty minutes the cast sings, drum away enthusiastically or play guitar, and throw daggering looks at the audience – while spraying them with holy water. Lunacy rules. Grown up pantomime. Thrills and spills.
There is a little bit of nudity (a strategically placed hat prevents all from being revealed), simulated sex, a xylophone playing Reverend and a macho flatfish whose rhetoric would not look out of place in the DUP.
Is there method in all the madness created by Eifion Ap Cadno who also stars as Al, the play’s fulcrum? Yes. This is a play about individual freedom, the right to be unconventional in a world where the conventional remains the norm. The right to dress as you want to, to be who you want to be, and to kiss whoever tickles your fancy – even if that person is the same sex and it is just a kiss, not full on sex, that you urgently desire.
Al’s sexuality is the vehicle through which all this plays out. He likes both men and women and falls for Nic (Max Young) after taking enough drugs to sink a battleship. They are then visited by the Baba Ganoush police (dressed as Gestapo officers) who transport Al to the ‘bureau’ where he is interrogated by Nicola (Young with earrings) for having gay thoughts. A wedding ensues overseen by the Reverend (Iulia Isar) as does the encounter with the spouting halibut (Nick Mauldin).
All chaotic, all rather far-fetched, but all rather funny judged by the audience’s reaction (January 29). The cast also seemed to be enjoying themselves judged by the fact that Mauldin got a fit of the giggles at one stage.
Among the carnage and the madding crowd, Mauldin’s vile flatfish stands out. Ten minutes of pure vitriol, enough to put you off halibut for life.
Young plays Nic and Nicola with aplomb while Cadno holds the play together – sensitively portraying Al as an individual who wants to break out, but seems fearful of doing so.
The Dip, directed by Sam Edmunds and with a powerful musical score from Sophie Hammer, is refreshing, fun and unconventional. A bit like a bowl of Baba Ganoush. It is of the moment.
In amongst the pandemonium, there is a powerful message. Inclusiveness, not exclusiveness, is the way forward.
Title photo by Lidia Crisafulli