Skip to main content

Flash Festival 2018: Something Human by Incubus Theatre at St Peter's Church, Northampton

While Something Human from Incubus Theatre wasn't the best of the shows during the Flash Festival 2018 (but it wasn't anywhere near the worst), it had perhaps the award of the most discussion between myself and companion of the week, fellow blogger The Real Chrisparkle.

Something Human weaves a confusing web of a story, that often offers questions in the head rather than answers. Centred around a mundane office, a cleaner (Lori Heather) cleans, a manager (Jason Pile) manages, and a newly appointed PA (Anya Gallagher) PA's. Wandering into the mix is a mother (Emilia Owen), not mothering at present, as she is seeking her lost daughter.

What slowly then becomes exposed is the possibility that all of these people are criminals, the cleaner cleans up bodies of those she has slaughtered, the manager has interesting bedroom activities, the PA we discover is a paedophile, and could that mother have truly killed her daughter?
I won't pretend that I fully understood the story Something Human was trying to tell us, hence the post-show discussion. What we are "told" though, is that the cleaner, who spends much of her time when not cleaning, on the phone to men and threatening them, has killed three of these men, and at capture, tried to off two more. We also learn that she has Munchausen Syndrome (definition: a factitious disorder, a mental disorder in which a person repeatedly and deliberately acts as if he or she has a physical or mental illness when he or she is not really sick). Now could this explain away that the other crimes of the characters are within her mind, or does this office have a surprisingly high level of criminals?

It perhaps doesn't matter fully that Something Human has threads that might not be connectable in the head, as it entertains, and stimulates conversation. If you didn't fully understand it, it doesn't matter, as you will have mostly enjoyed the ride.

The performances especially are excellent, Heather offers an often scarily believable lunatic, full on in many scenes and a nice style of talking down to people. She makes the character very much inhuman, and extremely believable in what we are told she has done. Emilia Owen presents the opposite, a very human character, desperate to find her child, exhibiting the emotion you could truly imagine someone in that terrible position would. She couldn't possibly have killed her daughter, could she?

Perhaps the best performances though come from Pile and Gallagher, and also at their very best working together. Pile is slimy as the manager, but you can't help but like him, he has that thing that oddballs in movies have, he is personable. He is clearly a serious creep, and we know absolutely why he wants to keep his newly found, young and attractive PA close to him when transfers are hinted.

As the PA, Gallagher is once again superb, a reliable presence throughout the BA Actors shows, here she is a lovely, and sweet presence, and again there is no way she could be a criminal of any kind, is there? Her flat scene with Pile is expertly played, moving through the emotion, building to the genuinely scary and dramatic and bloody culmination.

I don't pretend to fully understand everything that Something Human represents, and perhaps there are more questions left at the end, than answers. However, I didn't feel shortchanged because of this, like I have with some other shows. It suits the play that it ends itself on a bit of a potential mystery, and for that reason, Something Human remained an extremely entertaining hour of theatre.

Performance viewed: Wednesday 25th April 2018

The Flash Festival 2018 ran between Monday 23rd and Friday 27th April 2018 at three venues across the town.


Photos: Looking Glass Theatre

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Bugsy Malone (Clyde Company) at The Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Last night I was back at Royal & Derngate to see the Youth Theatre/Young Company production of Bugsy Malone, this time seeing the almost completely different cast of Clyde Company. This second evening of the show had the fortune of running much smoother, with less of the technical issues that had beset the previous evening and restricted the success of some of the scenes.

It was most apparent in the Fat Sam's Grand Slam scene, which became a greater hive of activity, with a full dance routine taking place, which unfortunately hadn't happened the previous night. Leading this scene was a full-on performance from Morgan Charles as Tullulah, exhibiting the vocal talent, and most especially the dance skills she had shown in last years Fame.

In the lead for this second company, and taking a much different approach to the role, was Nathan Stroud. Here we had a more mature Bugsy, not just in age, but in personality. The slightly more serious style worked excellently alongside a st…

Review of Planet Circus OMG! 2016 at Billing Aquadrome, Northampton

An unexpected call from a friend who had received a free ticket, à la Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket, to go and see a circus for free, left me sitting in a circus tent a few hours later for the first time in about thirty years.


It was a wise, albeit on occasion, scary decision. I have to confess that when seeing shows like this, where there is an element of danger involved I do tend to squirm into the chair I sit. This happened mostly during the opening act of the second half of the show, the suitably titled Wheel Of Death. I rolled into an uncomfortable ball, while the five or six year old behind me gleefully shouted that "they are going to die!".


This was a scary welcome to the second act, after the first much more relaxing first half. It works excellently and is credit to producer and director Mark Whitney that the show is perfectly balanced, with the bulk of traditional circus arts in the first half, while the more spectacular and often more modern feeling ones are in …

Review of The Crucible at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

A few weeks ago I headed down to London to see this years graduating University of Northampton BA Actors perform Arthur Miller's classic The Crucible, and while it was generally spotlessly performed, as expected, the staging of it was tremendously dull, offering little stimulation beyond just the words being said. It made a classic, quite dull as a result. There was no such issue with The Actors Company production, staged in the atmospheric Underground space, and directed with such style and flair by Fay Lomas, to make Miller's play unrecognisable from that London version.

Based around the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, Reverend Parris (a tough uncompromising performance from Steve While) comes across a group of girls dancing in the forest. When one of the girls, Betty (Laura Green), falls into a coma, events spiral out of control for many of the residents of the town, as accusations fly. Soon, Judge Danforth (Sue Whyte) is on the scene, and the lives of the residents a…