Eddie Perfect On The Resurrection Of His Play 'The Beast'

'It's about six arseholes who think they are good and who discover they are not good'.

21/07/2016 11:09 AM AEST | Updated 23/07/2016 6:22 PM AEST
Simon Schluter
Eddie Perfect for his new show 'The Beast'.

Eddie Perfect's 'The Beast' is back.

First staged at the Melbourne Theatre Company three years ago, the hit dark comedy is now returning to reach a wider audience, with a tour to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane due to kick off on July 27.

The play, which Perfect penned and, this time around, will also star in, follows three urban couples who make a 'tree-change' in a bid to lead more 'sustainable' lives.

"Basically, this is a group of very inner urban middle-class people who, because of a kind of mysterious past sin, have run away to the country," Perfect told The Huffington Post Australia.

"As part of that tree-change, they have decided to live ethically, organically and sustainably, growing their own vegetables and all that."

The Beast
'The Beast' cast, complete with cow.

But things begin to come unstuck when a 14-month old Angus calf is purchased for a dinner party, with the idea the animal will be humanely slaughtered and, as Perfect puts it, "respectfully taken apart to make a multi course degustation menu paired with wine."

"Only the meat-smith doesn't turn up and they are faced with the prospect of doing it themselves, which becomes this confronting, cataclysmic event," he continued. "It just made me think, what if you were desperate to live a rural existence and rewind a couple of generations back, but had trouble facing the reality of where food actually comes from?"

Judging from how Perfect describes the show's prop cow, theatre-goers had better be prepared for things to get gory.

"We are really up against it technically. It must be one of the most complicated cows ever put on stage," Perfect said. "It's a thing of beauty, with pressure pumps and hoses and holes and jets. It's just this crazy prop.

"So far it seems to be doing exactly what it should be doing. The main thing is being able to have enough blood. There is a lot of blood in this play. We have been buying suspicious quantities of corn starch and dyes.

"In fact, we even have what we're calling the wet room, which is this room which looks like a scene out of 'Dexter' or 'American Psycho'. It's this completely plastic coated room with a plastic floor where we can hose ourselves down. I think it's safe to say we're going to be sticky for a couple of weeks."

'The Beast'
Eddie Perfect and Alison Bell.

Directed by Simon Phillips, 'The Beast' will star Perfect alongside Heidi Arena, Alison Bell, Christie Whelan-Browne, Peter Houghton, Rohan Nichol and Toby Truslove.

"It's about six arseholes who think they are good and who discover they are not good. It's really cruel and that's only offset by the fact it's very funny," Perfect told HuffPost Australia. "What's most painful about them is they believe they are good.

"They leap on causes and trends that are in line with their ethos -- you know, they are aware of animal ethics, they are wanting to reduce their carbon footprint -- but instead of shutting the f-ck up and doing good, they are desperate to demonstrate their goodness. It's really about that demonstration, more than anything.

"You only have to get on Facebook to see how willing and ready people are to demonstrate their goodness.

"It's also about how we, as humans, can be hosts of logical disconnect, like a wallpaper over our brain. Like it's great to take your kids to a petting zoo and pat a lamb and it's fun, then the next day you eat it and it's food. Or you go to the aquarium and marvel at all the wonders that live under the sea and then at the end of the aquarium there's a cafeteria that sells fish and chips. That stuff exists so easily in our brain. I think it's weird."

'The Beast' will be performed at the Sydney Opera House (July 27 — August 14), Melbourne's Comedy Theatre (August 25 — September 4) and Brisbane's QPAC (September 15-18). Buy your tickets here.

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