Bucket Men revolves around 2 men- A (Jack Houston) and B (Max Aspen)- in their lives at work in a tedious job which offers them little to no satisfaction of reward. Their lives seem to run in a loop, having the same cup of tea from a broken kettle, eating the same sandwiches, even telling each other the same anecdotes day in day out. That is until B interrupts the routine, catalysing a sequence of events which have horrific conclusions.
While we are told little of the outside circumstances of the world surrounding these two men, what we do learn is close enough to our reality to shock the audience, and in this Skoog must be praised: often absurdism can seem distant from our lives, but his script was close enough to prompt introspection.
The idea that the evils of the world often seem banal and harmless, that “they know what they’re doing” is particularly well presented, as is the theme of regular people being used as tools for a wider, more sinister organisation: “stick to the script and it’ll all be fine in the end” came over as distinctly sinister and was highly effective.
Houston and Aspen both perform wonderfully in their Godot-esque pairing, with incredible energy throughout. Their performances hit a real high at the climax of the play, which adds another layer of intensity to an already powerful moment- this is well contrasted with the quieter moments of unsurety both actors have, really emphasising the theme of routine being vital to sanity in the situation we are presented with.
Bucket Men is an altogether thought provoking and powerful experience which sticks in the mind of the viewer for days afterwards. It is a must see for fans of the absurdist genre, or indeed for anyone looking for a good hour of theatre.