Take a browse through Netflix and you’d be forgiven for thinking the whole zombie apocalypse thing had been done to death, and there was nothing new to add to the genre. That is until you see Finlay Bain’s Living a Little, enjoying a short run at the Kings Head theatre following a successful stint at the Vault Festival.
It’s less about the zombies themselves, they are outside; in a world that’s fallen apart. Inside, in the relatively comfortable flat shared by Rob and Paul, life is pretty much going on as normal. They’ve managed to stockpile plenty of supplies, hooked up a couple of generators (for the fridge freezer, TV and sound system) and even planted some fruit trees on the roof.
When they’re joined by a stranger, Penelope, we start to understand the kind of world they live in and the path they’ve chosen; not to ration supplies or to play it safe, but rather live every day as if it’s their last, because it very well could be.
Directed by Jordan Murphy, Living a Little is incredibly funny, in fact it’s downright hilarious, from the opening scene you know you’ll be laughing a lot. It’s also really emotional at times and despite the short running time you immediately feel a connection to the characters. What really comes through is the theme of friendship; Finlay Bain as Rob and Paul Thirkell as Paul have a very exciting chemistry, they’re like chalk and cheese but their bond comes across so powerfully. Pearl Appleby, as Penelope, brings a new dynamic to the group and does an excellent job of bringing out the characters vulnerability, which is hidden behind a tough façade.
It’s pretty impressive how many subtle themes are cleverly sewn into the plot, a testament to the strong writing that makes Living a Little so much more than an offbeat comedy. This is a fresh and brave exploration of friendship which is both touching and hilarious in equal measure, it’s well written and beautifully performed.