Despite being billed as a tragi-comedy, I found this play dark and depressing, despite the first scene of interaction between the two actors being the oddest simulation of oral sex you will ever see.
A tale of two lost souls in a cave – Javier, the Spanish spelunker (look it up!) is exploring a remote cave when he comes across (almost literally) Amy, an antique English girl who has been lost for years. Javier is trying to escape from the world – Amy is trying to get back in it; hence he is the ‘worm’ and she is the ‘mole’ – residing in the same place underground for very different reasons.
The play was well suited to the OFS's dark and claustrophobic atmosphere, and the actors utilised the stage very effectively. The characters are both odd-balls and the rapport develops gradually between them so you are aware they could never live together, and are then shocked when they appear trapped together forever. When Javier accepts he may never leave the cave, the audience is left watching these two awkwardly thrown-together characters and wondering if this is what happens – does human nature dictate that any man and woman, no matter how mismatched, will end up together if circumstances allow? Would that be the fate of us all, if we ever become lost in a cave or marooned on a desert island? If so, just hope for George Clooney rather than John Wayne Gacy…..
There are plenty of moments of dark humour – some great one-liners (when Javier tells Amy ‘If I did come inside you it would have been because I thought you were a rock’), and some moments of beauty – particularly the kiss between Javier and Amy which is so natural and erotic you feel they may be destined for each other after all. Javier’s initial accidental exploration of Amy’s nether regions lightens the mood, as does the dance routine which is so ridiculous and out of pace with the rest of the play but manages to give it a new light-hearted dimension.
However, the ambiguous ending leaves many unanswered questions – who is real, Javier or Amy? Was he hallucinating, or was he a necrophiliac? There are unexplored areas such as Amy’s revelation that she was once pregnant, and no explanation of how or when she got into the cave or how she was surviving – although the darkness of this becomes apparent in the final scene.
At the end of the play, I turned to my guest and said ‘That was bonkers. In a good way. I think’.