Not The Horse, Theatre Review. Unity Theatre, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: Nick Sheedy, Michael Hawkins, Warren Kettle, Tom Silverton, Freddie Johnson, Adam Nicholls, Michael J. Treanor, Niall Hogan, Phil Bulman, Calen Griffin, Callum Forbes, Daniel Carmichael.

Straight up black comedy has the major issue of sometimes alienating those that dare take in a night of theatre; the unsuspecting audience not quite aware of what to expect, the references, the journey to a different place and one in which darkness prevails, the under culture of which many are drawn because it allows for a different kind of narrative to be explored.

Yet by pass the strong scenes, the use of language in some quarters, and what you find at the heart of the performance and the text is a commentary of true life, that sometimes black comedy is more truthful because it does not require watering down to raise a laugh and can often be more enlightening for the experience.

Naughty Corner Productions have got this down to an art form and in Not The Horse, the tale comes directly from the horse’s mouth, the underbelly of life is highlighted as making money quickly, theft, drugs and dubious choices of music to listen to whilst in a van on the way to steal the most intimate of horse equipment are held out before an audience to whom seemed captivated by the unfolding story, or at least pleasantly shocked by the counter culture investigated.

With very good performances all round, especially by Daniel Carmichael as the mysterious fence and supplier of guns Silk and Warren Kettle as the good humoured but unfortunate victim of a misplaced syringe full of ketamine in which one of the most surreal dances and dream sequences appear, Not The Horse romps home with a clear run to the winning post, having negotiated a few hurdles and possible pitfalls.

Black comedy is there for a purpose, it is meant to make you feel slightly uncomfortable, it is there to explore and educate about a side of life that you might not have thought about before; television programmes such as M*A*S*H were not always the barrel of laughs that people remember, they had a very serious point on how the world should be viewed. Not The Horse should be looked upon as coming from the same stable, a story that will attack the sensibilities and leave you pondering just how bad your life would have to be before you resorted to such acts, sometimes it is not as far away as you might imagine.

Ian D. Hall

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