There’s a point in Crocodile Fever where you can’t help but think, how did we get here and where’s it going to go next? And it goes there. And there’s no choice but to love the entire piece.
Opening to a gloriously pink kitchen, obsessively cleaned by Allanah (Lucianne McEvoy), the younger of two sisters. There is no hint of where Crocodile Fever will go. Set in South Armagh in 1989, Allanah’s life is disrupted by Fianna’s return. This is a reunion of sisters, although not a celebratory one.
Fianna (Lisa Dwyer Hogg) has spent the past years imprisoned for a crime her sister committed. Bitterness has built during this time. As the presence of the father- lying sick upstairs- it is apparent they are united in hatred of him. Whilst it’s not entirely clear how the sisters reached this point in their relationship. Both have created new roles in the absence of the other. Of rebel and conformist, there is a feeling conformist is learned and doesn’t fit so easily.
With gin and rum consumed, so violence reminiscent of a Tarantino film takes hold of the home. Fortunately, in Megan Tyler’s black comedy there is an offset of surreal violence with surreal moments of sisterly bonding. From exploring why the lyrics to Africa have been so misunderstood to the damage which can be inflicted by a chainsaw. Somehow, the two have a strength which overlooks their differences- how it plays out is all the more bizarre.
Crocodile Fever concludes with a blood bath and fantastic puppetry by Rachael Canning. With the strength of the commitment of McEvoy and Dwyer in making fantastic performances. Whilst the audience absorbs fraught themes with surreal humour, the underpinning rebellion makes Crocodile Fever brilliant.
Crocodile Fever is at the Traverse Theatre as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. You can see the production until Sunday 25th August at various times.
Disclosure: This review is part of media accreditation for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. All views and opinions contained are my own.