The Awkward Silence’s latest show Bufo Bufo starts with a news conference, where the first of many characters, a Chandler-esque Chicago flatfoot leads us into distinctly noir country with a briefing to hacks in the audience about a legless corpse (yes, not drunk, just with no legs) with a chopped off finger up his nose. Refusing to be reassured that this is 'not suspicious', our hero, freelance journalist Brad Donovan, starts to chase the story, mostly literally, even when he is told that he must not. En route he shacks up with Professor George Paxton, a stuffy academic dweeb cliché, and together in their 1920s clothing and hats they slowly unpick a fine conspiracy that could grace any black-and-white gangster or monster B movie.
The two far-from awkward or silent players, Ralph Jones and Vyvyan Almond, treat us to an amusing pulp yarn, full of back lot oddball characters with attitude, plot twists and red herrings, all very imaginative and compelling. It’s a lightning whizz through pulp detective and science fiction magazine articles from last century.
There’s a lot of mime and a splendid range of accents, all with very clever timing and funny jokes. They conjure up a whole series of believable locations and situations, including a husky-pulled sledge in the snow and a race between using an elevator and running up the stairs. I had to listen intently so as not to miss anything, but there were many 'laugh out loud' moments in the well-written and honed script, which I assume they wrote themselves.It was tautly directed by Nick Davies. The audience enjoyed the performance and I’m sure, like me, would recommend it. It’s certainly worth seeing twice.
The Burton Taylor is an ideal location for fringe conceits like this one, as the intimacy of the space enhances the enjoyment of the audience.