SAN DIEGO READER, Saturday July 6th 2013 by Jeff Smith
Oyster Boy, by Haste Theatre.
The London-based company’s “an international, all-female ensemble of six-passionate theatre-makers.” They tell a “dark” tale with a lightness verging on buoyancy. The combination’s arresting: a story performed larger than life about a tragedy.
The idea came from the short stories of Tim Burton and the life of John Merrick, the famous “Elephant Man.”
It’s the 1950s. As barbershop quartets croon, and vocalists doo-wop, Jim and Alice fall in love by the sea at Saint Marie. They give birth to the title character.
“It’s a boy,” says one.
“Yes,” replies the other, “I suspect so…”
“They should be ashamed!” shouts a woman, like the leader of an irate Greek chorus. The society she represents wants to banish the “otherness” they have spawned altogether.
Haste Theatre performs in different languages and styles, but especially in the European tradition of physical theater: mime, dance, clowning, all of which contribute to an anti-realistic feel in keeping with the subject matter.
They also make imaginative use of simple props. Large bolts of cloth, for example, become ocean waves, or a tent, or a white table cloth. And the piece is a rare combination: it’s at once a delight and also very sad.