Edinburgh Fringe 2011
My Filthy Hunt shares four intertwining narratives, and provides an insightful window into each characters life. Horizon arts present an innovative work, allowing personal stories to be told by an ensemble, in a captivating hour of high energy impact theatre.
Upon arrival the audience are confronted by four figures, backlit, surrounded by mirrors. This striking image is a credit to the lighting designer, who creates some of the best aesthetics to be seen at this years festival. Booming Base-lines tracked over the top, the actors deliver their opening lines in mute, the emotion is clear, and the audience is prepared for a hard-hitting hour of drama.
Structurally, the text is broken into two halves, a series of four monologues with dialogue fed in by the remaining cast, leading to the four characters coming together in the final grief stricken moments. Stories of domestic violence, insecurity, sexual abuse and a life of drugs and crime are explored. A cast of four play a vast number of characters all of whom seem as genuine and believable as they do a times ridiculous. A credit to both the cast and the direction, who have staged what could have been a trying text if not tackled with honesty and understanding.
What is particularly surprising here is the humour found within the text, from the flamboyant drama teacher who turns out to be a pedophile, the mother who refers to her son as “a big gay jellyfish” and the father of a young girls best friend, who “occasionally calls when he wants to go dogging”, My Filthy Hunt combines the hard hitting drama with almost pantomimic character interjection. Moments of black comedy and occasionally absurd physical humour set the work alight. It is these moments of high comedy allow those shocking scenes of intense drama and emotion to grip the audience, and cause the familiar still silence across the auditorium, which only a deeply moved and captivated audience create.
The mirrors placed behind the actors leave them no escape from there characters and indeed the audience. The decision for the cast to spend 70% of the production in their underwear, can often come across as gratuitous and unnecessary, here it simply adds to that feeling of honesty and confrontation. A credit to the success of the production.
It is the detail, both physical and emotional that further contributes to the high success of this work. These characters are united by one moment of grief, the loss of a mutual friend of partner, Marvin. The silent simultaneous sequence phone call they all receive is painfully slow, and is played over enough time for the audience to recognise, relate to and be moved by the action taking place before them.
Ultimately, the audience are asked “What’s the point? We’re all gonna die anyway”, which is an honest but depressing perspective to be left with. So, what is the point? The simple answer ,found in Edinburgh, in August; for theatre experiences like this.