Crocodile Fever (4 stars)

This article is from 2019

Crocodile Fever

credit: Lara Cappelli

Snapping at the jaws of the patriarchy

Brilliant, batshit and brutal, Meghan Tyler's new play, set against the backdrop of Northern Ireland during the Troubles in 1989, plays out like conventional farce – initially, at least.

Fianna (Lise Dwyer Hogg), a rebellious young punk woman is back to visit buttoned-up, religious sister Alannah (an outstanding Lucianne McEvoy), forever trying to scrub the outside world away in her pink Formica kitchen.

But both characters, who seem like simple archetypes, develop into something far more complex when forced to confront reptilian abusive father Peter (Sean Kearns), with the sins of the past still staining the present.

A surreal comedic bloodbath, homaging classic 70s/80s horror films like Carrie and The Shining, ensues. After all, what's a little chainsaw action and crisps-related violence between good Catholics?

Underpinning the larky humour and gore, though, is female rage. Gareth Nicholls' marvellous direction of a dream cast draws out the tics and nuances of Tyler's intelligent writing. These young women have been pushed to the edge, and the heart of the play shudders with the terrible hurt of adolescent years. In a sense, it's #MeToo for the pre- internet generation, when horror and evil wasn't just limited to video nasties.

Traverse, until 25 Aug (not 12, 19), times vary, £21 (£15.50).

Crocodile Fever

  • 4 stars

Traverse Theatre Company in association with Lyric Theatre, Belfast Northern Ireland, 1989. Rebellious Fianna Devlin crashes back into the life of her pious sister Alannah. Together for the first time in years, they are back at each other's throats in seconds. And when they are forced to confront their tyrannical father's…