Although the common conception is that humans evolved from apes, this isn’t the case. It’s believed that we both evolved from a common ancestor that lived millions of years ago. This would therefore begin to explain why we bear similarities to the species. For centuries, this complex relationship between man and ape has fascinated us all, so similar yet worlds apart. BoonDog Productions award winning Goody explores this extraordinary relationship.
The year is 1934 and Frances, a chimpanzee trainer battles day to day to sustain a living in Dustbowl, America. His only hope is Goody, his pet and companion. It’s a case of survival of the fittest as only the best circus acts will continue on, with those struggling to gain popularity receiving the boot. Jesse Rutherford‘s Frances endears, his calming tones establishing a calm environment. Rutherford controls the overall mood of the show, for the most part, the production is mellow and this keeps the audience at ease. This feeling of calmness heightens sudden shifts in mood, tempers often rising as flippant comments are uttered by Rutherford. In retaliation, Goody resorts to her animal instincts and fights. Goody (Lucy Roslyn) and Frances’ clashes make for fascinating viewing, here we as the audience question the basis of their relationship. Are these two genuinely companions or is it a case of the relationship being an interdependent one, a necessity for the two to get on in order to survive…
Roslyn’s Goody is mesmerising to watch, she embodies the earthy qualities of a chimp and transforms before our very eyes into a creature torn between grasping human concepts and basic animal instincts. Roslyn presents a scale of emotion that leaves the audience no other option but to stop and observe. Goody is enigmatic and there is a power within this, the audience are left wanting to learn more about her. Power play features heavily in the production, there’s the established trainer/trainee relationship between Frances and Goody however their relationship takes on an additional layer. Frances emotionally weakens Goody, impacting on her self esteem and this in turn highlights his lack of power. References to his father and their volatile relationship mirror his current situation with Goody and this has the makings of stirring up a powerful emotional response but just misses the mark.
Jamie Firth directs a subtly sinister production, the audience constantly questioning Frances and Goody’s relationship. Roslyn’s eye for human interaction intertwined with surrealism, (Goody often mimicking particular sections of Frances’ anecdotes) gives the production it’s uniqueness. 3.5/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Goody is currently showing at the Pleasance Courtyard until Monday 28th August 2017 as part of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For more information on the production, visit here…
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