Some things really should not be written about. If a writer has the temerity to write about the subject, then that writing definitely should not be turned into a play. And, if it is turned into a play, it should never be performed with the original title. And if all the above have been ignored, then we are left with Rob Hayes one-act play Awkward Conversations With Animals I’ve F****d at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre.
Told as series of individual monologues, Awkward Conversations With Animals I’ve F****d is the story of Bobby (Linus Karp), a young man with serious social issues. Bobby lives alone in a bedsit with very few possessions and the first time we meet him, he has spent a night of ‘passion’ with a dog he met wandering the streets the previous evening. Whilst the conversation is one-sided, it flows rather well. Bobby is obviously an intelligent and articulate young man who is tackling his first ‘one-night stand’ conversation well, in fact in parts better than can be expected. Bobby is a kind and considerate guy who thinks about his ‘guest’ and their needs and does everything he can to satisfy them. The story progresses and each monologue, with the exception of the last one, is a morning after the night before conversation. In each, Bobby talks to his one-night stand and shows more of his personality and the things he is feeling. But, let’s be honest, young Bobby is getting away with things more by luck than judgement and luck is a commodity that eventually runs out in one way or another.
So, we start the review proper with two questions to the writer Rob Hayes. First, how did you come up with the idea of a chap not only into bestiality but also affable enough to want a conversation the morning after? Secondly, why did you make it so good that instead of being disgusted, I was enthralled with the show? Once you get over the things he does, Bobby is such a fascinating person. There is obviously a massive backstory of which we get tantalizing glimpses. The thing with Bobby is, he’s a really lovely lad and if he were having these conversations with women or men he had picked up, there would be no problem. But, he’s not and no matter how sincere he sounds, at the back of your mind, you know that what he is doing is wrong and the product of a mind that obviously has major issues in engaging with the real world and genuine people. Whilst I would never condone Bobby’s actions, there is a moment when he is talking to one of his ‘conquests’ pointing out the absurdity – to his mind – of a society where he could buy and sell the animal, take away their young, put it to work with virtually no reward but was not allowed to love it. Strange sentiments but they really made me stop and think for a second.
Linus Karp is a lovely performer in the role of Bobby. One thing that really impressed me was the way he maintained ‘eye contact’ with whoever he was talking to as they sat, stood or lay pretty indifferent to his words. Linus has a nice gentle accent which really seems to add to Bobby’s vulnerability and bring out his personality. Amanda Ljunggren’s set is basic but looks perfect as the sort of home a chap like Bobby would inhabit.
Overall, although I shouldn’t, I really enjoyed Awkward Conversations With Animals I’ve F****d. As a one-act play, it worked exceptionally well and, although I wanted to know so much more about how Bobby had got to this point in his life, the story moved well and in the end, this was a very funny and deeply poignant piece of theatrical work.
Review by Terry Eastham
One-night stands are awkward. One-night stands with animals are more awkward. And when you’re as desperate to please as Bobby, things get awkward as f*ck. He’s just a guy with too much love to give, and a burning desire to give it to consensual adult mammals.
Booking to 29th November 2017
Lion & Unicorn Theatre London