Caryl Churchill’s short play Pigs and Dogs is proof that you don’t need a long play to pack a punch and get across a powerful message.
It clocks in at around 15 minutes long (without an interval the usher jokingly informed as I arrived) and leaves an indelible mark.
Three actors - Fisayo Akinade, Sharon D Clarke and Alex Hassell - perform a series of actual statements made by political leaders and those in influential positions, primarily from African countries. Each of which gets introduced by the phrase “someone said” followed by the name of the person from whom the statement originally came. The theme of the statements is the perceptions of homosexuality, the actors each taking rapid turns with the statements and introductions.
It starts with recent homophobic statements moving into historic reports of homosexual activities that were deemed culturally normal before coming back to the present day. The play is substantially based on the book Boy-Wives and Female-Husband: studies in African homosexualities.
Collectively the statements challenge modern homophobic prejudices suggesting where the origins for such attitudes might lie and it isn’t where you might think.
It is a simple idea, simply and brilliantly performed and makes for a powerful, thought-provoking piece of theatre.
Pigs and Dogs runs until July 30 at the Royal Court. It starts at 6.30pm and is unallocated seating - doors normally open 20-25 minutes ahead of the performance. Its £5 and it gets five stars from me.