Bob Franklin and Stephen Gates (Tripod) indulge in a spot of kooky comedy with the slightly unnerving Stubborn Monkey Disorder, a sensationally mind-bending production.
Here's the premise: a tentative Gates runs into Franklin, an enigmatic figure, within the bowels of a medical facility. The two engage in psychological warfare with one another, the exact nature of their relationship slowly unearthing itself. Unfortunately, that's about as much as can be revealed without spoiling the party entirely. Speaking of, punters may have noted a similar reluctance from Franklin and Gates to spill the beans concerning the show's synopsis - with respect to the festival guide, at least. Suffice to say, in actually seeing Stubborn Monkey Disorder play out, their strategy seems perfectly reasonable.
Stubborn Monkey Disorder is no exercise in complacent theatre, nor a lazy comedy venture. The show thrives on deliciously obtuse detours, perpetuating an air of mystery established from the outset. Franklin, cast as a creepy clinical expert, stages a masterfully unnerving performance, unseating an anxious Gates at every turn. The pair's chemistry continually shines, their collaboration prevailing as the show's chief strength. The sheer antagonism that brews between the two performers is hysterical and an enduring delight.
Ultimately, this is a brave and bold maneuver from two seasoned comic performers, the show offering foreign context for their immense talents. Fortunately, their ambition pays off. Stubborn Monkey Disorder is both memorable and marvellously trippy, with fine comedy the icing on the cake. Recommended.