Bucket Men (3 stars)

This article is from 2018

Bucket Men

A return to the absurdist style

Fear No Colours are historicist by inclination: To Have Done with the Judgement of God is a riff on Artaud, while Bucket Men evokes the sinister menace of the later absurdists: like a variation on Pinter's more brutal scripts, it features two men tasked with torture, following a routine that gradually breaks apart on its own incoherence.

Much is made of the mystery that surrounds the men: their daily ritual is founded not on their lives but a predetermined script. Families are discussed but as apparent social inventions, the eating of sandwiches seems connected to their work, even the failure of a kettle to work appears to be part of the employment conditions. Yet none of these elements are clarified, and the sign-posted finale is undermined by a long and obvious interlude when a man clad in a gas mask moves around the body of their victim, in their absence.

Performed with a meticulous attention to detail, the cast develop the sense of rising horror and lend the script a focus that makes its lack of depth more apparent. The obvious influences of Pinter and Beckett prevent the action from being a surprising or invigorating trip into terror, but the discomfort of the measured ascent to its bleak conclusion is a promising exercise in working with familiar motifs.

Run ended

Bucket Men

  • 3 stars

Fear No Colours A and B work hard, and they take pride in their work. Turn up, swap stories, share sandwiches, do the job, go home. If only upstairs would fix the bloody kettle. Surely if they stay obedient and unquestioning, it’ll happen eventually. And why wouldn’t they? It’s a living, after all. But something is wrong.