Edinburgh Fringe 2012
The behaviour of families, and the nature of friendships is examined in this play utilising hte behaviour in a pride of lions as it’s underlying principal.
Taking the premise of the behaviour in a pride of lions this is a dark comedy about the Lion, Bruce, and his wife Linda and what happens when a new male; James enters their lives.
Dressed in lion suit onesies Bruce and Linda start off ever the happily married couple, excited by everything and very much in love. As time marches on and Linda now has 10 kids to contend with she starts to nag Bruce to finish renovating the house so her sisters can move in to help her. At this point James, the new neighbour, a strong, strapping male makes an appearance and strikes an uneasy friendship with Bruce, who takes him under his wing in a bid to finish the decorating work and appease Linda.
What unfolds is a beautiful dialectic between the two male egos, starting off as mentor and mentee, with the balance of power slowly shifting as James, the younger, stronger and fitter of the two, slowly beings to assert himself more and more against Bruce who is tired and aging.
The acting is excellent as the story unfolds, subtly showing the gradual breakdown in the relationship between Linda as she becomes weary of his ineffectual behaviour, procrastinating and posturing, whilst James is full of energy and ideas. The relationship between Bruce and James is both hilarious and excruciatingly painful to observe as the inevitability of the outcome looms over their situation. (You just need to know about the behaviour within a real ride of lions to know this.)
Their struggle for dominance and power, coupled with need for friendship whilst simultaneously being threatened is wonderful in its complexity and very true to life.
The show is downright hilarious, with expert comedy timing from the lead lion Bruce (reminiscent of both Julian Barrett and Mark Heap) making an excellent contrast to the loving yet weary Linda and the enthusiastic James beginning to realise his own power.
This piece of theatre weaves the themes of male pride, family tensions and the underlying behaviour of real lions expertly. Excellent theatre, this is clever, inventive, heart-warming and sad. One not to miss.