Review: Experiment Human

A very surreal and imaginative comedy that’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Review: Experiment Human

Experiment Human is a highly unusual, bizarre and zany show. Its darkly humorous premise follows a Monkion and their assistant. They are alienesque creatures, with one Monkion being obsessed with Benedict Cumberbatch to the point of kidnapping him. But these creatures have spent so long in their laboratory attic, Cumberbatch is no longer happy – or alive. Desperate to revive him, they seek to understand how a human can even express happiness. And so, with the help of the audience, the Monkions conduct an experiment to discover the human experience and the meaning of emotions.

The plot takes a little while to properly kick off, in part because its premise was too abstract for my mind to appreciate at first. One gag involving a Monkion stuffing matryoshka dolls between their thighs and then letting them drop one-by-one into a cardboard box, like they were undergoing some strange bowel movement, made me so uneasy I wondered if I’d enjoy the show.

However, I soon got to grips with the show’s surreal sense of humour. The experiments the Monkions carried out, in their quest to discover the meaning of emotions, were incredibly entertaining and engaged with the whole of the audience. Similarly, I found the performers got more and more endearing as the show went on. They have ample improv talent; many of their jokes played off from the reactions of audience members, creating a sort of in-joke that got progressively funnier.

The duo (sisters Rosa and Maya Hallpike) employ great physicality in their performances; a good deal of the show’s comedy shines through the way the performers move on the stage. Their jerky movements and head tilts are reminiscent of Igor from Young Frankenstein. At times, it’s surprisingly terrifying. Towards the end of the hour-long show, a Monkion slowly crawls on all fours towards an audience member; not unlike the creepy ghost from The Grudge. It may be a comedy, but a subtly menacing tone underlies the humour.

The show culminates in a charmingly odd ending, rewarding the audience for watching such a unique experience. Overall, its shamelessly weird and funny story is too much of a spectacle to miss out on.

I saw Experiment Human on its last day of showing at the Brighton Fringe, and I’m genuinely excited to see what comes next from Hooky Productions and their quirky characters.

Show Title: Experiment Human

Venue: The Rotunda Theatre

Review Date: 21.05.23

Header Image Credit: Brighton Fringe

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