Rudes stage an Orwellian take on life

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Don’t miss one of the finest shows of summer 2022 as Artsreach brings the Rude Mechanicals to North Dorset

ONE of the most inventive, imaginative and colourful of the summer open-air touring companies, the Rude Mechanicals are coming to North Dorset with a thoroughly entertaining and wildly original take on how we live, social media, reality television and the meaning of love.
Gods and Dogs, by the Rudes’ director and founder Pete Talbot, is a brilliantly witty new satire, set in 2084 on the island of Abatina. It’s a century on from Orwell’s classic dystopian fantasy, and our heroine and fellow residents are under the all-seeing eye of the president, Big Al – all fake tan and a floppy quiff, he’s a cross between The Great Oz and Big Brother (and you-know-who across the pond).
The celebrity-obsessed residents, policed by the fawning dogs of the state, live for a word of praise from their president, who is beamed into their homes and workplaces by sophisticated technological gizmos. Their dismal lives are brightened by a weekly fix of Marriage Maker, a reality show in which one lucky girl is chosen (out of three) to marry a superstar and have three days of hedonistic luxury and sex, before a divorce.
Each eight-episode series mean the star gets to marry eight people over two months.
Gods and Dogs follows what happens when one of the hopefuls falls for the footballer she “wins”, while her friend, who is already sceptical about the whole set-up, is properly courted by a charming young man with a flash car, who is at war with his own background.

Mocking insight
As always with the versatile Rudes, the style is commedia dell’arte, the faces painted in white-mask, the singing, dancing, musicianship and talent enormous. The Eastbourne-based company has built up an eager following around the areas they have regularly toured since 1999. always bringing an original show to their “open air’ audiences. This year’s company includes regulars, returners and newcomers, as Tom Blake, Georgina Field, Max Gallagher, Evie James, Rowan Talbot, Ed Thorpe and Lia Todd bring 22 characters (and the voice of Big Al) to vivid life.
You won’t see a more inventive look at modern society on stage this year. It never takes itself too seriously, but drives its revelations home with a sparkling little hammer.

The tour has four Artsreach-promoted Dorset dates, at East Farm, Tarrant Monkton, on Wednesday 20th July, Stourpaine on 21st, Mill Farm at Bradford Abbas on 22nd and Child Okeford on Saturday 23rd July.

by Gay Pirrie-Weir, Fine Times Recorder

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