Meat Cute at the Hen and Chickens (Camden Fringe)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Patch Plays is a London based theatre company that explores themes of veganism, animal welfare and sustainability. For those of you already switching off, ‘Meat Cute’ demonstrates that activism and entertainment can (and probably should) occupy the same space. I’ve long been a believer that comedy is one of our most powerful tools for challenging people, their beliefs and their behaviours.

Written and performed by Bibi Lucille, ‘Meat Cute follows a woman who is on a mission to convert men to veganism one date at a time. She uses Tinder, not to find romantic matches, but to find men she can turn vegan. Her disgust when she finds herself on a date with an undeclared vegan, is hilarious. Lucille’s performance bursts with the passion and bravery needed to carry off such a focused and committed character. I doubt I’d ever have the courage to turn up at the house of a big game hunter dressed in a leopard print leotard. Lucille’s writing sizzles with humour. There is a family dinner scene that had me cackling loudly, it is so ridiculously funny.

Anastasia Bunce’s direction celebrates the farcical aspects of the piece, even the costume changes are done on stage and in character, ensuring we never lose the energy that powers this fast paced play. Some of the more ridiculous plot points push the boundaries of believability but you accept them because they exist in this vivid reality that Lucille and Bunce have created.

The sheer silliness that drives much of the show is what makes the ending all the more poignant. I don’t want to say too much for those who might still catch it (well worth the trip to the Hen and Chickens for the final performance tonight, 17th August, at 7.30pm) but there is a shift in energy at the end that is profoundly moving. Changing the world is an exhausting business, Patch Plays I salute you!

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