Like Animals (3 stars)

Like Animals

credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

Poetic and absurd piece examines emotional attachment in its most oppressive form 

Like Animals opens with Pete and Kim, a couple who quickly switch characters and become a dolphin and a parrot. The animals take their history from famous scientific studies, in which both species were subjected to learning English. 'Loving' bonds with the trainers were formed to their detriment; encounters which Like Animals examines in parallel with human relationships.

Through dreamlike 'human' scenes and laughter-inducing animal imitations, the show examines emotional attachment in its most oppressive form. The long-term couple are displayed as reliant but loveless, entwined but distant and the animals similarly unfulfilled.

Peter the dolphin is used to draw upon the true case of a 1960s study undertaken by Margaret Howe Lovatt, during which she had sexual encounters with her dolphin subject. The show makes light of this for the most part, scratching only at the surface of its severity. Despite laughter filling the room, this leaves a dark aftertaste.

Themes of love and communication (or lack of) are explored from an unusual, fresh and engaging angle; however, the continuous shifting between poetic and absurd is hard to get accustomed to in parts. The play delivers its topic in the manner promised, but sheds no conclusions on the complexity of love.

Summerhall, until 25 Aug (not 12, 19), 2.15pm, £12 (£10).

Like Animals

  • 3 stars

SUPERFAN in association with Tron Theatre A parrot says 'I love you'. A dolphin tries to speak. A woman spends a lifetime trying to understand. Like Animals is a funny and poignant investigation into love and communication in human (and not-so-human) relationships. Inspired by true stories of animal language…

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