What If They Ate The Baby? is an absurdist two-hander created and performed by duo Xhloe Rice and Natasha Roland. A ‘queer take on the American 1950s cannibal housewife’, that explores the dark undertones of American Suburban life.
Shirley (Roland) and neighbour Dotty (Rice) are dressed as stereotypical 1950s housewives, but there are fluorescent green stains over them; the costuming is one of our first clues that everything isn’t as it seems.
The use of physicality and movement elevates this piece. All of the movement and choreography are delivered with precision and are used to show the audience the unsaid. This is starkly contrasted with some of the dialogue which emphasises the fake politeness of society. All of the choreography and movement is well executed and the pair deliver everything with intention and drive.
The structure is complex and exciting, they’re seemingly stuck in a cycle that never ends, and there is the repetition of dialogue which is delivered in different ways. In the beginning scenes, they use stiff, doll-like precise movements that often mirror each other. We then see intermittent scenes of them dancing, fighting or kissing, which use an array of music from vaudeville to rap, incorporating lighting and strobe. As the play develops the nature of those scenes seep into the rest of the play.
There is a sense that something is off throughout, Shirley is always on edge, there is mistrust mixed with the sexual tension between the two, noises in the attic, discussions of missing neighbours, husbands nowhere to be seen, the stains on their dresses, and matching green spaghetti. There is purposefully room for the audience’s intrigue about what is going on. This is a show that forces the audience to work it out and conclude for themselves, leaving you with questions and theories as to what has actually gone on.
It is hard to describe What If They Ate The Baby? which is why you should just go and watch it. This intricate concept is executed brilliantly. Xhloe and Natasha are phenomenal actors, you can tell they have put so much thought and work into this show. What If They Ate The Baby? is a funny, sensual, and jarring piece that leaves much to the audience’s interpretation.
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