The Various Lives of Infinite Nullity


Taking inspiration from Aldous Huxley, ‘Maybe This world is another planet’s hell’, Clout theatre present this piece of absurdist theatre with leanings towards surrealist slapstick but addresses a serious issue such as suicide and considers the circumstances behind it. Performed by a trio – Sacha Plaige, George Ramsay and Jennifer Swingler- it is certainly an intriguing and cleverly constructed production which operates at its own pace and never falls into the realms of predictability or cliché.

 Opening with two of the performers approaching the audience like those chattering menacing dolls in ‘Barbarella’, but this time armed with bottles and straws making bubbling sounds as opposed to razor like metal teeth, whilst the third member skips with a rope. Rattling cups and saucers and a spasmodic set of movements follow before the dialogue begins and the characters reveal thjeir raison d’etre.

This subsequently reveals that the trio are actually dead and are all suicides who then go onto explain first how they carried out the fateful deed- one in a self motivated car crash, one in a leap from ahigh storey window whilst one stuckl her head in the oven carefully clingfilming a lasagne she had just baked in case whoever found her felt peckish- before becoming hysterical as their voices all merge in a Tower of Babble like frenzy as each reveals the many reasons that drove them to taking their own lives: some are legitimately serious complaint, others less so and some downright absurd.

 Absurd is a word which hangs itself on this production quite succinctly as it is absurdist in its aspirations. At times it feels like a series of individual sketches but eventually a narrative thread begins to tie each sequence together to create a more cohesive whole.

 At forty minutes long it realises its own limitations-anything longer might have proved irritating- but at the same time it doesn’t really lend any real credence or substance to the ideas that it opens up. As such it emerges as a valiant ambitious effort but one which ultimately is not fully formed.


The Various Lives of Infinite Nullity is on at 3pm at Summerhall until August 25th

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