The way in which people communicate with and love one another is the focus of Like Animals. The show is written and performed by Kim Donohoe and Pete Lannon who are a couple in real life and are also the creative team behind the new Scottish theatre company Superfan.
The pair enter the stage and begin to speak identical lines of dialogue at the same time and at the same pace. This creates a surreal and quirky atmosphere and sets the bizarre tone of the show. Kim and Pete tell the audience about a parrot called Alex and a scientist named Irene and an experiment to make the parrot communicate effectively with humans. It was not exactly a successful trial and the difference between human and animal relationships is highlighted through physical theatre and comedy. When undertaking the animal roles the pair are out of synch, yet as humans they seem truly connected.
We are then told of a NASA funded project in which a communications expert called Margret looks to teach a dolphin called Peter to talk. This project was the subject of many newspaper headlines as Margret had to take extreme (and seemingly unnecessary) methods to calm the young male dolphin down. During this comedic segment Pete Lannon takes on the role of Peter the Dolphin whilst Kim plays the over enthusiastic Margret. The duo remove their clothes to reveal wet suits and Peter lies in an inflatable swimming pool whilst making vague and nonsensical dolphin noises. It’s a strange sight and adds to the bizarre nature of Like Animals. Here the dialogue between the pair shows the frustration of trying to make a connection with someone who does not understand you and the miscommunication draws laughter from the audience.
The show comes to a conclusion with an emphasis on love and the relationship between the two performers. It is a touching and warm ending that shows that communication between animals may be important on a scientific level, but good communication with the ones you love is essential.