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115

So after the show, I met up with this enormous owl which has written and directed OwlEyez Theatre’s “The Last.” He was perched beside the coffee dispenser in that sort of half-bar which they have in the foyer of Space Triplex, where the play is still based for one more night. He has some poncey name like Ozymandias. “Mate, that was a daft show,” I greeted him. “But I will begin with a small complaint about the cast.”

“My minions are very able!” the owl shrieked, his head rotating 360 degrees.

“They are a little too faint. They’ve obviously rehearsed in a much smaller space than the play’s venue. They sometimes mumble the lines – your excellent lines, sir – when they should surely yodel them. Why not move them slightly nearer to the audience? There needn’t be five feet between us and them.”

“I could hear them perfectly!” the fowl squawked, aflap in agitation.

“Yes, but you’re an owl, sir. For us humans, the effect of the play is needlessly spoiled by this tiny mistake, like a beautiful woman who is unconscious of the piece of coleslaw which is stuck to her chin.”

The bird gave me an alert look. “What is this “coleslaw” of which you speak?”

“More seriously, “The Last” is meant to be a post-apocalyptic drama, which details some domestic conflicts amongst the last nine people who are left alive on Earth. Yet your play is marooned on a desolate spot between two obvious extremes, lost somewhere between The Road and Red Dwarf. The cast are likeable and quirky – their story initially resembles the generic Fringe comedy which is set in a student flatshare – but they aren’t thrown enough jokes. The play ends up as a fair-to-middling mixture of comedy and drama which has been all jumbled together. Like a pellet,” I added severely.

His head was revolving again. “I will not abide this impertinence!”

“Don’t get me wrong, sir – it was one of those plays which is still often fun, even when you know that it should be really rather more. Robert Currall is very good as the First Citizen, Phoenix Nichols. The ghost is a welcome character too. I equally liked the ironies about sexual con…”

“Issues surrounding sexual consent on campus are something which I am extremely concerned about,” the owl bleated, now flapping his wings and turning his head simultaneously.

“Well, maybe it wasn’t intended as a joke. But it’s still rather funny. The last nine people on Earth are so dysfunctional that they cannot organise an orgy between them. The gay guy has the hots for the super hetero one, the super hetero one has the hots for the celibate one. It’s typical of your sex-scared student generation that you would represent the last sexual act in human history as non-consensual. Not with a bang but a whimper!”

“I don’t know what you mean! This is the tragedy of your species – you are evidently unable to perceive it because you are too familiar with your own degeneracy.”

“I’m arguing with an owl!” I exclaimed to myself. “An ugly garden ornament! It was a bit much when this happened in the play.” He scuttled away, blinking at me sullenly.

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