Theatre Review: The Pork Crunch at Pleasance Theatre

The recession provides the laughs in THE PORK CRUNCH, a play about money, pork products and stolen fish at the Pleasance Theatre

As we all know, a shortage of cash will lead people to all manner of desperate acts: begging, borrowing, even stealing.

Kidnapping fish, however, is probably not very high on most peoples list of get rich quick schemes, but this is what the characters in The Pork Crunch find themselves doing as the realities of recession-gripped Britain hit home.

The story, which started life as a live-reading two years ago, centres around three 20-somethings down on their luck - an Australian who can’t find work, his sex-obsessed flatmate and his flatmate’s girlfriend, who has just been sacked from Sainsbury’s.

With eviction notices looming, the local drug-dealer offers them significant remuneration for looking after fish.

Suffice to say, narcotic-fuelled chaos ensues.

Apart from the piscine criminality, a lot of the subject matter is old ground. How many drugs in the big city stories are doing the rounds?

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Even the tag line “Trainspotting meets Ransom” suggests that the tale is not entirely original.

That said, it delivers a lot more than you would expect. Although a thoroughly enjoyable romp, serious issues of family, commitment and rejection rear their ugly heads and there are genuinely sad moments to balance the laughs.

All three performances are strong and the characters are very believable. The production also benefits from razor-sharp timing, both from the cast and the lighting and sound. In fact, the music and light provide fluid and atmospheric scene changes sometimes missing from smaller productions, so hats off on that score.

Written and starring Adam Hunter, remembered for his roles as Robert and Cameron Robinson in Aussie soap Neighbours, The Pork Crunch represents a very promising writing debut from an obvious talent.