Descending into madness, one man’s crippling phobia of flies drives him to a last resort – Antarctica. Flies is a brilliantly absurd black comedy which is bound to leave you itching for more. Les Enfants Terribles and Pins and Needles Productions have created a show filled with catchy music, hilarity, and most importantly a unique story of obsession; the terror was so thought-provoking that my own skin crawled, and I found myself questioning the likes of buzzing bugs myself.
Flies revolves around Dennis (George Readshaw) – a man who has an irrational fear of flies, taping his windows shut and reducing himself to a recluse. Through extensive research, Dennis realises the only place in the world without flies is in Antarctica. After trying to painstakingly explain this to his travel agent, he eventually ends up on a one-way flight, but his torment is not over yet.
A trio of actors bring their talents to stage, leaving the audience laughing and wishing for more. All props and set are used to their fullest; even the snappy scene changes deliver comedic value. When the DJ of the three (Harry Humberstone) isn’t making music, he is often seen sporting double chins or dressed in wigs or for female roles. He is a great example of how sound effects can support a satirical comedy.
Piers Hampton plays the Fly, tormenting Dennis and unsettling the audience, as well as stealing the show with perfect comic timing. Cool and collected, the Fly represents the sheer terror taking refuge inside Dennis’ mind. This personification was a favourite with the audience and the Fly’s suave personality was what made him so funny.
From revealing his nightmares to therapy sessions, Dennis's journey explores the effect of crippling phobias – and though you may not be scared of flies, anyone can relate to the chain of intrusive thoughts that arise from fear. The nightmare especially, with the use of a projector, was a highlight in the show. Dennis narrates one of his dreams in neon swimming shorts, and the effects his fear has on him as a character had me captivated throughout.
Flies delivers everything I could hope for in a Fringe show, and surprised me with just that little bit extra. I still have a song about Antarctica ringing in my head; the performance is anything but normal, and the quirky, original concept has it standing out from the rest. A perfectly-illustrated story about obsession that doesn’t take itself too seriously.