Review: Piglet: Hotbed Festival – The Junction, Cambridge

How much is art really worth? Do the Grand Masters justify their price tag?

In a darkerned flat hangs a recently purchased Gainsborough, bought for a snip at over $5million. The owner though doesn’t intend to admire the painting for long – in the morning he intends to destroy the painting for the media notoriety it will buy him.

Nothing here though is clear cut. Is the painting real or a fake, why does a man who can afford a multi-million dollar purchase live in a flat supplied buy a coin fed electricity meter and live off microwaved apple pies? What is the relationship with his girlfriend, nicknamed piglet ,and more disturbingly the relationship with her mother?

Therein lays the problem with Ed Harris’ one act play. While there are some intriguing story threads weaving in and out of the piece and some nice dialogue it doesn’t seem to be a coherent, finished artwork. The central premise of a media stunt to destroy a masterpiece for notoriety and to drive the public to appreciate the art they have is intriguing but Piglet never fully develops the story. We don’t really get to understand the motives behind the plan, the backstory that has occurred to this point or the real drivers of the destruction.

Harris also mixes in some intriguing hints of domestic issues with his two protagonists. Piglet who seems to have a dark violent past hidden deep in her psyche, a complex relationship with her mother and issues with her current lover. All hint at a much longer play hiding in this one act offering, though this means that in its current form Piglet is somewhat unsatisfying.

Pieter Lawman and Kate Malyon work well together and provide some nicely observed performances of a couple both deeply in love but also slightly apart. Tension is built and there is some dialogue and dark humour in the piece but the key message that the audience is meant to take away from the piece is somewhat lost.

Originally written for The Public Reviews

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