The Three Little (Proletariat) Pigs
Dec 8, 2023
Daniel Oluwasayo Olabode, Atticus Orsborn
Liv Ello, Reed Stokes, Rebeka Dio
I haven’t laughed at a film as much as I did during The Three Little (Proletariat) Pigs in a long, long time. Atticus Orsborn and Daniel Olabode’s skewering of avant-garde theatre and performative leftism is a genuinely hilarious mockumentary that allows a brilliant cast of characters to shine.
Emerging theatre director Clement Clemence (Liv Ello) has received funding to create a communist version of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ from visionary artist Jean-Raphael Boutonne (Douglas Clarke-Wood). Roles of the three pigs go to Jade (Rebeka Dio), Amy (Lee Tatlock) and Clive (Joel Gottfried), and American star Vesper (Reed Stokes) – fresh from a recent social media scandal - is cast as the big bad wolf. Clement’s distaste of Jade, the cast’s dreadful accents and Vesper’s inability to memorise even basic details of the script are just the start of the problems that befall the doomed production…
The Three Little (Proletariat) Pigs biggest strength is its characters. Delusional theatre director Clement Clemence is excellently brought to life by Liv Ello, obnoxiously and ignorantly crowing about safe spaces whilst bullying and dominating their cast with a faux-iron fist. The sincerity Ello imbues into Clement’s belief that their play will bring about the downfall of capitalism makes their protracted breakdown that much funnier. They're met head-on in the aloof department by Reed Stokes’ Vesper, an equally brilliant creation that mixes the unearned arrogance of Veep’s Jonah Ryan with the real-life extravagances (ahem…) of the Shia Labeouf/James Franco brand of art-school actor. His misplaced cockney accent draws laughs every time it is inflicted on the viewer.
Contrasting with the extravagant two is Rebeka Dio’s Jade, a grounded young actress foreign to the artistic flourishes of her new master. Jade is the audience’s life raft to the insanity of the cast – and her victimisation at the hands of Clement is an integral channelling of how the desire for success, power acclaim and money can turn even those who proclaim kindness and equality into despots. Liv Ello’s ability to leave a sinister bite at the end of Clement’s snipes meshes with Dio’s empathetic tendencies. In a powerful moment, Jade’s refusal to walk out of the group due to the carrot of meeting Jean-Raphael Boutonne demonstrates that even the stable amongst us can lose sight of what is normal, right and justified. The deification of Boutonne – wielded yet not created by Clement – is central to the film’s critique of pseudo-geniuses whose unusual methods can act as a smokescreen for brilliance, when in fact they instead result in harm – physical and psychological.
The docudrama/mockumentary format situates the viewer as an observer within the group during rehearsal. As with most great films or shows of this nature, it allows an immersive experience whereby the characters engage around the camera – leaving the interactions feeling natural and authentically awkward. TV-show cutting at convenient moments would result in scenes such as Vesper’s debut of his chimney sweep-esque accent feeling staged or scripted, as opposed to the toe-curlingly brilliant hilarity that results instead. The director’s commitment to the format is to be applauded.
There really is so much to like about The Three Little (Proletariat) Pigs, from genuinely funny and searing comedic performances to its altogether more serious and considered message. Anyone experienced with either the ridiculousness or the toxicity that often comes with creative industries will find this all too relevant, but the eclectic performances of Liv Ello and Reed Stokes will be a highlight for anyone.