On Tuesday night I saw Edward Albee’s Zoo Story brought to life by Meerkat Productions as part of the Liverpool Fringe Festival.
A simple set consisting only of a park bench and some grass brought a secluded corner of Central Park into the theatre at the Casa. Peter and Jerry muse about life, love and loss in what appears to be a friendly conversation but the different levels of the actors, Peter sitting, Jerry standing, subtly showed that Jerry had power in the situation. The performance became increasingly uncomfortable while Jerry talked about wrestling with a black dog, a common metaphor for depression, and it seemed that Peter had become some form of hostage while Jerry’s stories rapidly became darker and more surreal. When Jerry sits down next to Peter it seems that the tension is resolving and the sunny Sunday afternoon will end peacefully, but what happens at the zoo will not stay at the zoo.
What begins a simple stroll through the park quickly spirals into a horrifying climax that leaves the audience open mouthed and silent. Masterfully performed by Stephen O’Toole and David Crosby Zoo Story is the captivating story of life in the urban zoo of the big city, the cages we put ourselves in and what can happen when we break down those bars.
Copyright, D M Day, 2017