Everybody Shut Up

JAMIE HARDIE reviews Janet Productions’ surreal comedy at St Saviour’s Vicarage. In storytelling there is the concept of the twist: a narrative that sets up conventional expectations, and then subverts them for dramatic effect. More sophisticated structures might involve ‘red herrings’ or leading their audience ‘down the garden path’. In Everybody Shut Up, the twists are thumbscrews, the red herrings are sharks, and the garden path is a mudslide into a landfill populated by nightmarish half-people. The debut play of Finn Burge and Hugh Pearson’s Janet Productions is wrong on many levels. Nothing is in the right order: the prologue resembles the climax of a tragedy, the characters actually become less developed as the play progresses, and any attempt to anticipate what will happen next is doomed to frustration – frustration and discomfort are the audience’s recurring companions. Certain graphic scenes go on for too long – far too long – … Continue reading Everybody Shut Up