Barry and Barry (Rosana Cade and Ivor MacAskill) enter the Demonstration Room at Summerhall and stand still. After what feels like an unbearably uncomfortable period of time the pair begin to talk. For the next hour the duo fill the void of silence through repeated phrases, radio jingles and physical theatre.
Barry and Barry are radio DJs who host a daytime phone-in talk show that is all about the callers. We constantly hear the refrain to ‘get in touch’ and are told ‘It is all about you and your opinions’. This repetitive dialogue is punctuated with cartoon sound effects and even a kitschy theme tune that is infused with 1980s nostalgia. Barry and Barry talk to a one another, but no one seems to be calling in.
There is something uncanny about the relationship between the Barry’s. There seems to be a queer connection between the pair. It is as if they are the daytime radio equivalent of Gilbert And George. However, Barry and Barry also come over as a pair of Alan Partridge’s and seem partially unaware of the ridiculousness of the situation that they are in until MOOT MOOT reaches it’s conclusion.
The show relies heavily on the repeated phrases. At times this is frustrating, but this unease adds to the peculiar nature of the performance. Sound itself is a major part of MOOT MOOT. The performers are wearing headset microphones and their words are manipulated and distorted while they speak. This creates a distinctive and at times claustrophobic soundscape. Sound designer Yas Clarke is not present on stage, but in many ways he is the third Barry. The sound defines the characteristics of the pair as much as the visuals. Speaking of visuals, Barry and Barry are doppelgängers. Both are wearing grey suits that are tailored in an identical fashion. They are mirror images of one another and the resemblance is freakish, but also delightful.
MOOT MOOT is also very much a physical show and the pair use office chairs in ways that would definitely get themselves fired from most workplaces. Here the show truly feels like a complete performance. The physicality along with the language presents themes of miscommunication, frustration and loneliness in exciting and unpredictable ways.