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Preview: The Crocodile

Creating a Victorian Zoo set in St. Petersburg which houses a giant and somewhat hungry crocodile is not something you do ordinarily, but creating theatre is never an ordinary experience and that’s what we have have done for our production of The Crocodile which opens tomorrow night.

Penned by Peep Show writer Tom Basden, the play tells the story of struggling actor Ivan Matveitch and the day his fortunes ironically change for the better when he is eaten alive by a crocodile. It is an extremely funny and well crafted piece of theatre. Basden has a wonderful gift for writing comedy that is funny off the page; the words have a rhythm that bounce allowing the jokes to sing, and that’s before you even give it to talented actors to bring it to life. The play is somewhat surreal, yet very contemporary and hails from the great tradition of alternative comedy that is reminiscent of Blackadder and the French & Saunders film spoofs. In fact, if Eddie Izzard was to write an episode of Blackadder whilst sat in the lobby of Fawlty Towers, you would get something very much like the The Crocodile.

“…if Eddie Izzard was to write an episode of Blackadder whilst sat in the lobby of Fawlty Towers, you would get something very much like the The Crocodile…”

The South London Theatre are real champions of Basden’s work having staged There Is A War (2014) and Joseph K (2015) in recent years. Both shows were great successes and were very well received by their audiences. Basden’s ability to write belly-laugh comedy yet marry it with sincerely touching moments makes his plays compelling – the fact that he also creates such beautifully delineated and nuanced characters is why his work is also so popular and wholly watchable. In SLT’s production of Joseph K there were scenes which had the audience rolling in the aisles yet moments later were filled with dread and sympathy for the lead character.

It’s with an enormous sense of pride that SLT are the very first company to stage The Crocodile since its premiere in Manchester in 2015 and so we have gone the extra mile to really do it justice.

So if you want a great night out with a lot of laughs, five great performances, one massive crocodile and some really horrific taxidermy this is the production for you!!

You can see The Crocodile from Tuesday May 23 through to Saturday May 27. Tickets are available in advance online here.

Article and photographs by Bryon Fear