Sheep – Review

Ever had trouble sleeping? Pity poor Dexy – not because his daft mother named him after a badly-dressed ’80s singer but because he hasn’t slept for almost three weeks.

David Cantor’s new comedy, Sheep, which opened at London’s White Bear Theatre this week is bonkers but, hey, so would you be if your brain had been fried by insomnia.

Dexy is holed up in his icy third-floor flat where the streets below are teeming with sirens from cops hunting for….well, something.

He’s got an inappropriate pillow and failed miserably with lavender, scented candles and the dulcet tones of dolphins mating. Nothing helps him get some shuteye. Not even counting sheep.

And, worse, his flat appears to have a revolving door, welcoming a succession of odd bods whose eccentric behaviour turn this insomnicomedy into a surreal adventure through a drug-induced Wonderland.

Ciaran Lonsdale’s long-suffering, jammy-dressed, Dexy rakes his hands through his hair, sighs with frustration and wears a permanent hangdog expression, as he pines for his missing girlfriend.

Mind you, he doesn’t fret too much. He can’t take his eyes of an enigmatic woman in red who is forever lurking on his street corner and getting lifts from a succession of ‘uncles’ (you know the sort).

But his visitors are hilarious. One, Leo, is a “chemically assisted nut job” and the other, elderly bus driver Vic, is the most boring man in Britain who likes tea and board games.” They could almost be yin and yang.

The charismatic and confident James Groom excels as the whacked-out hedonist, Leo.

There aren’t enough colourful adjectives in the dictionary to describe this off-his-head, paranoid nihilist who spends his nights roaming from orgy to orgy – and his weekends working in Homebase.

Visually he’s a sight to behold. Lots of eyeliner and a disconcerting wolfish grin, a nocturnal pirate in pink stetson and fishnets, muscle vest, ripped jeans, an obligitory whistle and bum bag packed with copious drugs and a banana (good for energy levels).

He talks the most incredible bollocks – thanks to a neverending supply of pharmaceuticals.

From fantastic stories about chimeras roaming the Central Line hunting for paedophiles to global conspiracies involving Uber drivers, Nigerian traffic wardens and Polish builders, his stream of consciousness is increasingly bizarre and outlandish.

He even claims that there is a Latino pact for world domination between the Italians and Spanish, headed by a Mr Big who is a local hotelier.

In-between him dropping by to fill Dexy’s head with even more halucinatory fantasies, the poor sap hoping to snooze must contend with Vic who is trying to win back his wife by weaning himself off Risk, Scrabble and hard core Monopoly.

Cantor’s pacy dialogue is absurdist and riotously funny, with Leo getting the lion’s share of the best lines and delivered with demonic flourish by Groom.

“Why can’t you talk like an actual person?” Demands an inncreasingly confused and quizzical Dexy. Later he screams “What is this all about?!”.

It’s a question you may ask yourself so don’t be caught napping when the penny drops.

Darkly funny, with some off-the-wall performances from its cast, Tripped Theatre can count Sheep a hit. This 85 minute, wide-awake comedy is a hoot from start to finish.

Lonsdale’s appearance of innocence and vulnerability proves the perfect foil for the insanity happening around him from exuberant Leo, the dull Northern Vic (Bruce Kitchener) and Niamh Watson’s mysterious femme fatale.

Sheep runs at the White Bear Theatre until August 5.

Leave a Reply