Runtime: 1h 35m
Playwright Marek Horn began his career with the sparky Wild Swimming at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019 and has since kept things salty with Yellowfin at Southwark Playhouse in 2021, set in a world in which all the fish have disappeared. Teaming up again with director Ed Madden, Horn now turns his attention to octopuses. Or rather, one octopus named Frances has been the subject of research into octopus intelligence by behaviour scientist Professor George Gray and her husband. But now Grey’s husband is dead, and a hotshot anthropologist, Harry, is intent on trying out his new theory on Frances. Jemma Redgrave and Ewan Miller star in the latest from a rising playwright who has proven himself capable of combining science, philosophy, and storytelling into one neat package.
Professor George Grey is a brilliant behavioural biologist who, alongside her recently deceased husband, became world-renowned for her pioneering research into octopus intelligence. Mainly the intelligence of one particular octopus, in fact: Frances, who still resides in a large, purpose-built tank in George’s campus accommodation. Into this house of grief walks Harry, an ambitious anthropologist, despatched by the university with permission to test his breath-taking new theory on Frances. The nature of his assignment is shocking to George, and threatens to tear her world apart in more ways than one.