The Empty Space, Salford; Thursday 2nd September, 2021
Super interesting fact: avocado trees do not self-pollinate; one avocado tree can’t stand alone and be successful, it needs a partner. And the fruits themselves always grow in pairs on the tree.
And yes, they are a fruit.
None of this explains why you are an avocado, but it might just add a titillating giggleberry of curio-intriguism to the fringey mystery that is “Why I Am An Avocado” – a fascinating offering from the emerging enigmas that are Elephant In The Closet Theatre.
Keith and Delilah are hosts for the evening – and very good hosts they are too, taking time to personally greet each audience member on entry. Together they exude the prim and proper regality of a daytime-TV-presenter double-act.
Keith opens with his agony aunt slot – sharing letters from viewers concerning some bollocks or other going on in their lives. Keith treats each case with compassion though, he seems to know that a firm, ripe outer skin can often hide a vulnerable, delicate flesh within.
Meanwhile Delilah seems keen to get fruity with a handsome Romeo plucked from the audience – this drives Keith bananas, he’s green with envy, or perhaps he’s just genuinely concerned that she’s landed herself a rotten apple?
The Keith and Delilah show takes a fair bit of effort but, eventually – and most notably thanks to a bountiful harvest of audience participation – a genuinely innovative fringe performance begins to grow. It’ll always be good to see fellow civilians squirm in discomfort for the entertainment pleasure of others – here it’s all light-hearted enough but it does a good job of setting up what proves to be an unusual and unexpected finale.
From the initial drudgery of daytime-TV-like orthonormality, a much less tangible and altogether more surreal theatrical experience begins to eventually surface, it happens gradually and imperceptibly and makes for a unique and amusing experience.
The show meanders unexpectedly towards a conclusion that feels like a kind of therapy – some kind of healing experience was had, one where, by witnessing the cathartic unpeeling of fellow audience members, I too felt able to achieve some sort of satisfying state of sweet and succulent contentment.
And meanwhile there is the burning question that everyone wants answered: why am I an avocado?
This is a show that feels almost ripe, almost – it has a smooth, glossy appearance, soft to the touch. The flesh underneath feels firm yet there is a springy bounce, the juiciness is right there. It’s right there to be had. And when I sank my teeth into it the creamy flavour was both nourishing and tasty. I can’t help thinking though that it might’ve been better if it had ripened just a tiny little bit more? But I’ve devoured it now, it’s too late, it’s done.