Slapstick and Slaughter

Category: Show Related artist: Desperate Men

Two men recklessly attempt to confront the absurdity of war in just 40 minutes, using their bodies, their voices and the surrealist toolbox of DADAism. Playful, physical and blackly comedic, SLAPSTICK & SLAUGHTER examines how the barbaric chaos of World War One manifested itself in the nihilistic, nonsensical art that grew from it.
This theatre show splatters big ideas on a small canvas, exploring art’s reaction to the war’s wholesale destruction of lives, the old order and old hypocrisies and finding echoes in equally absurd modern conflicts.


What they said about Slapstick and Slaughter….

“a small but perfectly formed and darkly comical epic, packed tighter than a kitbag with visual surprises, guffaws of laughter and a disarming humanity.” Bristol 24/7

“Seems entirely nonsensical and anarchic, but it quickly becomes clear that it is in fact carefully crafted and choreographed, and that there is meaning in the madness. It is also very funny.” Stage Talk

“anarchic but consummately crafted sketches…painfully funny.” The Stage

“The show is brilliantly conceived! It demonstrates real understanding of the personal challenges people faced during WW1 and how it was expressed in the art of the Dada period. The show is performed skilfully with great care and attention to detail; the audience can’t help themselves but engage!
“It was fab, so clever, I laughed until tears were coming down my cheeks, I’m still laughing!”
Susan Goodwin ( Arts Connect West Midlands )

From Mintfest 2014 – Reviews
“In perhaps the most powerful and moving show of the weekend, surrealist comedy duo Desperate Men explored the absurdity of war and its impact on art, culture and society in Slapstick and Slaughter. Ideas and images crashed and collided with an exuberant, anarchic playfulness half-masking its dark and disturbing themes, as when the classic trust-building exercise of falling backwards onto a partner evolved into a vision of a soldier carrying a dead comrade, a set-up at once funny and desperately sad.”
Hippodrome Heather (Birmingham Hippodrome Blog on Mintfest)

Emails, Facebook and Twitter

“The Desperates totally on form – a masterclass in street performance.” Neil Butler – UZ Events, Glasgow.

“Jon and Richard, just wanted to say, you know face to screen to screen to faces how much I loved your show. I loved the conviction, to your ideas, your selves, art, peace, justice, nonsense, I loved the guts, I loved the crisp facial hair, I loved you counting to 100, I loved discipline in the movement, I wish it every success.”
Peter Gunson (Pif Paf Theatre)

“Brilliant show! Thanks again: far and away the most interesting thing I saw at Mint; I think the most idea-rich show I can remember seeing on a street: really satisfying. I’ve recommended it to all the folk I know up here…”
Ric Jerrom ( Natural Theatre )

“It was beautiful, clever and funny and it made my weekend. Every element was relevant and witty. It’s always lovely to see an art form so truly honed and mastered. Thank you.”
Claire Cooper Facebook comment

“Slapstick and Slaughter – Sophisticated, grown up street theatre with the sort of intellectual rigour that’s rarely seen. Flanagan and Allan on a Monty Python trip down Dada lane – kept young and old pinned to the pavement although many won’t know why. Proper stuff – thank you.” Russell Kirk Facebook comment

“You were my 8 yr olds favourite daytime show”

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Show Details

  • Date Created: 2014
  • Length: 40 minutes
  • Performance area: 4 x 3 meters
  • Approx. get-in / get out: 15 mins
  • Number. of people on road: 2
  • Workshops available: Yes
  • Scale: Small scale
  • Capacity: Under 500
  • Availability: Has touring availability
  • Language: English
  • Audience type: All audiences, all ages

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