Don’t be alarmed by the title of Rob Hayes’ wonderfully warped, rather surreal, play as there is more to this compelling drama than meets the eye. Awkward Conversations deserves special praise mainly because of an extraordinary performance from Linus Karp as Bobby, under the very exact and watchful direction of Katherine Armitage. At times this disturbing look into mental health does really push boundaries because of the subject matter – that of fulfilling one’s sexual desires and needs by having sex with animals.
This is darkly comic and the uncertain feeling of what we are watching – and perhaps perversely enjoying – is removed instantly by Karp’s sensational command of the role. This is a play about coping with life and how it should be lived in as uncomplicated a way as possible. And that loneliness can kill and destroy you. This was an enormous triumph in Edinburgh and was destined to come to London to be seen by a much wider audience and rightly so. Karp instills a sense of vulnerability into the role that is extremely sincere and his closing speech where he lists animals that are as endangered as he is, as a human being, is beguiling. A passionate look at virtues and vices.
Photos by Simon J Webb The Lad magazine