Written by: Sarah Delahunty
Directed by: Sarah Delahunty
BATS Theatre, 4th Apr 2023
Reviewed by: Kate Morris
Surreal comedy meets ridiculous reality is what we are promised from Sarah Delahunty’s newest work, Interrupting Cow, and we aren’t disappointed.
We meet the cast amidst an endless pandemic of annoyance. Annoyance about everything, from shoelaces and global starvation to Twitter and the housing crisis. Our characters appear to be searching for purpose in an ever-changing and damaged world. One (Sarah Delahunty) looks for purpose by being a stickler for the rules – rules she later realises are defined and enforced only by herself. The other (Catherine Delahunty) pursues purpose by surrendering to the endless scroll, constantly glued to their phone and defending the hidden depths of Twitter that go beyond ‘silly pet posts’.
This surreal piece packs so much into 55 minutes, it’s almost overwhelming. The script feels like a free-flowing train of thought, uncovering feelings and fears of most, if not all, the societal, political, and existential issues of today. And yet, with so much said the characters are stuck still, lost. The experience for me is dizzying, but oddly relatable. You know that feeling? The one that makes you want to push for progress, to make a difference, but you just don’t know how? That feeling is at the heart of this piece, driven along by Delahunty’s meticulous and punchy writing.
Ari Leason’s character, a chocolate cake and ukulele-wielding bard of mysterious origins, punctuates the play throughout with original compositions of varying soul and intensity.
The set design (Sarah Delahunty) is a wasteland of tangled tree limbs, overturned chairs, discarded appliances, and traffic cones. Amongst this eclectic array of forgotten items, the characters question whether “this is the right place”. The setting becomes a metaphor for the characters’ feelings of frustration and isolation of not knowing their place in the world anymore.
Interrupting Cow is unusual and thought provoking. It will leave you thinking of the big and sometimes scary things – but will also remind you that when those thoughts get too big, there’s always cake.