The World Mouse Plague centres round an immersive durational headphone verbatim allegory of stage four genocide called ‘The World Mouse Plague’. Staged in a former contemporary ghetto, the production requires audience and evicted residents to wear mouse costumes. Ironically, the show has to be cancelled due to a mouse infestation problem. The real mice bear an uncanny resemblance to the humans who are dressed as mice and when the pest controllers arrive the confusion and stress lead to the theatre maker’s rapid descent into genocidal maniac…
The Sabre Dance is rattling the speakers in what used to be a lecture room for veterinary students and two men, dressed up as mice, are chasing each other hither and yon.
If I say the two men are Jon Haynes and David Woods (aka Ridiculusmus) then that image will seem reassuringly par for their course. That course veers left-field into the realms of absurdity, into atrocious panto-punning, before cramming in mouthfuls of biscuits and spouting a surprising number of astute comments on our age.
There is not a plot, really: more a cat’s-cradle of overlapping themes: genocide is one – pest control is out to eradicate the mice, because the owner wants his venue back so as an arts activist can stage his immersive-headphone-experimental experience for Fringe-goers. I lost count of how many different characters Haynes and Woods slipped in and out of at the drop of an accent, the tone of a voice. There are other droppings … pesky mice.
These antics will not be to everybody’s taste, or sense of humour. But do not be fooled by the hand-knitted look of the comedy (or the costumes). What plagues the world is hate propaganda, the politics of eradication – how do you get rid of poverty? – and the appalling amount of bad experimental theatre-making that chases its own tail.
Ridiculusmus, bless ’em, chase each other’s tales, producing comedy mayhem full of astute observations and wicked spoofery.