Juice Straws Are Bleak
Late night surrealism that is childish in the good way
This article is from 2016.
The sinister innocence that comes with adults playing children is exploited to full effect in this late night show that could as easily sit in comedy as theatre. A series of sketches, revolving around the antics of a classroom of ten-year-olds, Juice Straws owes something to The Mighty Boosh, but also to the more malignant absurdism of Ubu Roi.
Although all of the children, and their teacher, are fully developed characters, full of neurosis and idiosyncratic quirks, each scene is self-contained, moving towards a punchline. There's plenty of slapstick violence, comedy animals and a severed finger stoically reflecting on its fate. While it never quite builds into a narrative form its schoolday framework, each scene is effectively realised and the terror of childhood is represented in moments of playground bullying, distressing parents, alcoholic teachers, alienation and even a creepy guy hanging around the school gates.
Driven by a youthful, if rough, energy, Juice Straws is surprisingly serious beneath the laughter. Recognising the comedy inherent in the personality-crushing regime of education, and presenting an uncomfortable vision of innocence that is cruel without realising, Superglue Assembly Line are sketching out a raw, contemporary absurdism that lives in the playground of the soul.
Greenside at Infirmary Street, until 27 Aug, 11.10pm, £9 (£7).