You don’t often see a clown admit that they’re as lonely and miserable as everyone else. An overwhelmingly simple performance that leaves you giggling like a child, Meg and Joe Are Trying To Connect offers playful solutions to a deep-rooted problem: Loneliness. Although I was watching in the comfort of a friend’s house, the audience’s interaction radiated energy that simply doesn’t appear online.
We find ourselves in a room with a wooden floor and white walls and no one has their shoes on. The entire atmosphere was very reminiscent of GCSE Drama and I didn’t know how to feel about it until the end. Meg and Joe get everybody started with icebreakers that, admittedly, are lost on a digital audience. However, childlike laughter erupted from audience members as they spoke to their socially-distanced neighbours through cans and a string—a very sweet gesture after 18 months of physical and emotional isolation. Literally putting ‘the pandemic’ (a red balloon) in a box offstage was another incredibly endearing touch.
With loneliness at the heart of the performance, Meg and Joe explore all the different reasons why society is so lonely. Maybe it’s our alienating jobs, which Meg demonstrates in a doll’s rendition of The Devil Wears Prada. Perhaps it’s our tendency to follow our significant others to the end of the earth to find that we’ve left our friends behind. Maybe it’s the capitalistic bastardisation of ‘self-care’ into a solitary, consumerist activity that neglects your need for a support network. All very serious and complex points explained through a topless, bearded Barbie Doll naturally called Karl Marx.
Everybody gave meditation a try, but that didn’t work. Singing Elton John by ourselves didn’t fill the void either. Joe even tried to revive the feeling of community through shared dress and activity but ended up creating something strange and culty.
So instead of meditating, or buying self-care products, Meg and Joe bring us back to the good old days—to a time when we had two hours a day to “just be with each other and play games”. It wasn’t until it was pointed out to me that I realised just how devoid of playfulness we can be as adults. Although we touched on subjects that might call for a more sombre tone, Meg and Joe rounded the show off with childish games that left each member of the audience smiling from ear to ear.
So maybe being brought back to GCSE Drama wasn’t exactly what I expected. However, this dynamic duo has demonstrated a real potential to be both hilarious and heartfelt. The audience was buzzing with childlike glee, and from my friend’s house, even I couldn’t help but crack a smile.
Words by Elizabeth Sorrell.
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