Petrol (1 star)

Dull two-hander about the mechanisation of modern life in which the cast's heads are canistered


To quote a recurrent voiceover from this two-hander by Italy's Fabbrica del Vento, 'Error! Error!'. There are actually several errors in this no doubt well-meaning but dull physical theatre piece about the colourless mechanisation of modern life.

The major one is the canisters strapped to the heads of performers Anna Penati and Marco Zavarise. Wearing these encumbrances completely negates the subtle, poetic expressivity that – according to the flyer – they and company founder Giacomo Gamba were hoping to conjure.

First seen unmasked and gorging in dim light on invisible delicacies, Penati and Zavarise don blocky headgear to play a corporate couple who survive into their dotage through transfusions of black confetti. Although clearly not devoid of corporeal skills, the meagreness of their actions and body language does them no favours.

And if ever a show needed an enlivening musical soundtrack this is it. No one deliberately wants to make bad work, and artists have a 'right' to fail, but in this case it's hard to fathom that no one caught on to how null and void Petrol is.

I couldn't even summon up enough energy to be irritated by it. Taking my cue from Zavarise's ingratiatingly sincere curtain speech, I recommend it to my enemies.

ZOO, until 29 Aug, 6.45pm, £9 (£6).


  • 1 star

Fabbrica del Vento Em and Um: a married couple losing their identity in a plastic, robotic, grotesque world. Two dark clowns share the same tragicomic, alienating existence as they work side by side. And then, something happens which shakes their souls. Petrol investigates the expressive and poetic potential of…


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