Harold the Giraffe (Mitchell Holland in a drop-crotch giraffe onesie) and Frankie the Penguin (Jess Ciancio in an ill-fitting tux matched with some lovely red socks) bump into each other outside of a Mein Kampf reading. It's been a long time since the zoo days – they were since made redundant – and they've fallen onto hard times. But a 'no go' burrito sends them on an adventure of self-discovery in which they must work together in order to save the day.
This show is a silly amount of fun. Holland voices his Giraffe character with dynamic, mid-Atlantic delivery, rattling off his pronouncements and dated euphemisms with newsreel-like energy, while Ciancio brings animated disgust and furious anger to her straight-penguin role in the double act. Meanwhile, writer Rián Howlett imbues the script with vibrant dialogue, snappy jokes and surreal fourth-wall musings.
As much as I enjoyed these characters, I did have problems with the story. It elects for meta-commentary over substance at times, and much of the plot is formulated on an empty conceit. I also wasn't a fan of the sheer number of jokes which toy with Nazi apologia. Mein Kampf readings and the Hitler salute would be a riper source for comedy if we didn't live in a world in which a senator recently called for a literal Final Solution in their maiden speech. Or in which far-right bootlickers like Blair Cottrell don't get confused for reasonable commentators on national television programs.
2 Animals has plenty to offer – it's loaded with puns, there's great chemistry between the performers, and there are plenty of brilliant little technical flourishes in the sound and lighting design. I want to see more stories set in this universe and with this penguin-giraffe duo, perhaps just with fewer fascist overtones and a more conventional narrative arc.