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Chutney review at the Bunker, London – ‘surprisingly toothless comedy’

Scene from Chutney at the Bunker, London. Photo: Rah Petherbridge
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Reece Connolly’s Chutney concerns a frustrated young couple who embark on a spree of animal killings to alleviate their boredom. But this idea is simply not strong enough to warrant stretching out over two hours.

Gregg and Claire are two hateful 20-somethings who feel stifled by their sanitised existence, and discover a shared, sexually-driven bloodlust after spontaneously ripping apart a neighbour’s puppy. Suddenly life is worth living. They shove hedgehogs in the blender. They crossbow cats in the park. They squeeze bunnies until they pop.

What’s supposed to be a dark comedy about the twisting power of suburban banality, is neither particularly insightful nor particularly funny. Given such a promisingly perverse premise, the humour is disappointingly basic – mundane, middle-class, Michael McIntyre-style gags about Amazon Prime and Thai green curry.

There are a few good jokes in here, but barely enough to sustain a short Mitchell and Webb sketch, certainly not enough to be eked out over two hour-long acts.

Georgie Staight’s production does a few things well. It unfolds dynamically on Jasmine Swan’s wipe-clean, kitchen-island set, and the animal executions are convincingly done – the hedgehog one is particularly graphic. It also boasts a decent performance from Isabel Della-Porta, who has a delectable, Vanessa Kirby-ish blitheness to her delivery as Claire.

But none of that is enough to disguise the fatal flatness of the play. For a show with so much animalistic violence, Chutney is surprisingly toothless.

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Verdict
Toothless, blood-spattered black comedy about the suffocating power of suburbia
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