In the award-winning Beautiful People, comedy duo Ridiculusmus – UK theatre’s most enduring double act – play Violet, Norman and Arthur, three crustaceous centenarians who move at the pace of turtles mating and discharge their bodily gases into conveniently placed receptacles.
As this hopelessly endearing trio shuffle with relentless positivity through a slow-mo ballet punctured by fond fumbling and the manic popping of their pills, they attempt to navigate the murky memories of a ménage à trois, lumbering from drawing-room farce to the tragi-comedy of death and the inevitable bleak landscape of loss.
Like all Ridiculusmus works, Beautiful People – the final part of a trilogy of plays looking at various aspects of mental health – is a conflation of painstaking research and lived experience, liberated by the apparatus of comedy and imagination.
Informed by close relationships with inspirational elders, research into drug treatments for ‘complicated grief’ and the study of ancient mourning rituals, it began its life with acclaimed seasons in Melbourne, London and Edinburgh, where it was selected as part of the 2019 British Council Showcase, received the Herald Archangel Award and was described as
“Dangerously funny, scatological, surreal, clever and ultimately powerfully humane” (The Sunday Herald).