The Three Little Pigs

Nerida Dickinson

A grim tale from the darker side of the fairytale tradition: part Orwellian metaphor, part CSI Farmyard.
The Three Little Pigs

The Three Little Pigs taps into popular children’s stories, as well as television series about crime and forensics, to deliver a chilling tale of death, corruption and the lust for power.

The Clever Little Pig is distraught – his two heroic brothers have been brutally murdered, and he is being interrogated by the top Cock from the National Poultry Authority and a Goat only identified as an ‘independent investigator’. The Pig fears he is next on the hit list, but his inquisitors have their own interests in play, and want him to give them the right answers. In the next room, the Deputy Head Pig of the Violent Crimes Unit, assisted by Doberman from the Dog Squad, is interviewing witnesses, including a Security Pig, a Gym Bunny and a Sex Kitten. Reaching the same conclusion, the Cock and (allegedly dirty) Deputy Pig, rush off with the Goat to investigate a disturbance at the Big Bad Wolf’s house, while the Clever Little Pig is left to return home alone, where he finds Wolfy waiting for him…

Animals have established their own systems and powerful connections in this sinister world where the fences have been removed but a rigid pecking order is still enforced. Apes perform autopsies, chickens are prosecutors and whistleblowers, and nothing is as straightforward as it seems. This world order was impressively established by three men wearing suits, with no other props beyond two barbed wire fences flanking a kitchen table and chairs. While there were moments of absurd humour, such as the kitten’s table dancing routine and the security pig’s witness statement detailing his dinner, the three actors made their characters’ animal aspects menacing rather than cute.

Director Tara Notcutt establishes each scene cleverly, so that by simply moving the actors, strong distinctions were made between each setting. While some of the tangled webs of corruption, such as allegations of war crimes and silent partnerships in major businesses, were wordy and slowed the action, judicious use of comic relief in the alternating scenes saved the play from tediousness. The final twist in the tail of the story was unheralded and unexpected, but in the best traditions of crime thrillers, fit with the internal logic of the play.

A dark drama about power, passion and pork, The Three Little Pigs follows in the Orwellian mould of fairytales. Definitely not for children, it brings some gruesome gravitas to Fringe World.

The Three Little Pigs

Presented by National Arts Festival South Africa, Rob van Vuuren and The Pink Couch

Directed by Tara Notcutt

Performed by James Cairns, Albert Pretorius and Rob van Vuuren

De Parade Teatro, The Courtyard, State Theatre Centre of WA

14 - 24 February


Fringe World 2013

25 January – 24 February


About the author

Nerida Dickinson is a writer with an interest in the arts. Previously based in Melbourne and Manchester, she is observing the growth of Perth's arts sector with interest.