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Sarah Weed

Americana Absurdum at the Menier Theatre

Wacky, claustrophobic, chaotic, fast and furious can be used to describe Americana Absurdum, a black comedy divided into two interrelated plays currently showing at the Menier Theatre.

The first, Vomit and Roses, tells the tale of an American family living in Suburbia and their fervour of the American Dream – as father fights to save the acquisition of his funeral business by corporate giants and the two children prepare for their big night at the prom. Mother meanwhile lives in her dreamworld of colons and appendices while supporting father in his battle.

The second, Wolverine Dream, focuses on a lawsuit for wrongful death brought by a family after father dies in a plane crash. This sets the scene for a number of colourful characters to enter the frame including two congenital clowns whose job is to break the news of the crash to the family, two leprechauns, some shady airline magnates and an uncommunicative Wolverine who just happens to be the main witness.

Deliberately snappy and eccentric, the play is bound to have you at the edge of your seat as you try and keep up with the comedy. But there is a danger that you could get lost if you fail to persevere, as I noticed when the gentleman next to me nodded off during the second play.

The sharp, quick pace of it all combined with an illogical and senseless plot, is an attempt to provide a humorous and satirical look at the American Dream in all its faults and glory. It's not meant to be taken seriously, nor is it a real attempt to undermine American values otherwise the plot would not be so daft.

It's also a show you'll either love or hate, yet it cannot be denied that this is a cleverly scripted piece of work, brilliantly – and perhaps in this day and age bravely – acted by the stage troupe from New York.

For anyone who is a big fan of fringe theatre and black comedy I'd definitely recommend you see this show. But in order to appreciate the performance, a good sense of slapstick humour and black comedy is required.

• Americana Absurdum is at the Menier Theatre in Southwark Street until Sunday 4 July; 18 (conc 12).
• 020 7378 1712

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