"Stylish, smart, and increasingly disturbing... You shouldn’t miss Toot’s exquisitely crafted and often painfully funny Focus Group*" ★★★★ The Guardian

"Innovative, surreal and experimental" ★★★★ The Stage

"hysterically funny, while addressing profound existential issues" ★★★★ Everything Theatre

"this parable of limiting life down to human usefulness is as beautiful as it is bleak" Exeunt

Inspired by the short story Mister Squishy by cult US writer David Foster Wallace, Focus Group* is an absurd comedy with a dark heart, exploring the absurdity of modern life and consumer culture with humanity and humour. It is dark, unsettling and playful. The production celebrates the human drive to continue in what can feel like an increasingly remote reality.

Through Toot's distinctive style of interactive performance, the company provokes audiences to consider whether a real connection is possible at all.

Sit back, eat (individually wrapped, luxury) cake, and see a man gradually relinquish the delusion that he matters in the slightest.... And then go back to watching kitten videos on Facebook.



Created & Directed by

Stu Barter
Clare Dunn
Terry O'Donovan

Performed by

Stu Barter
Clare Dunn
Terry O'Donovan


Faith Dodkins

Lighting & Set Design

Jackie Shemesh

Composer & Sound Designer

Stu Barter

Production Manager

Kady Howey Nunn


An Ovalhouse co-production, seed commissioned by South Street Arts Centre with Derby Theatre, The New Wolsey & Shoreditch Town Hall.


July 2017

The Old Market, Brighton

May 2017

The Lowry, Salford
Shoreditch Town Hall, London

February 2017

South Street, Reading
Derby Theatre, Derby
Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, Lincoln

January 2017

Ovalhouse, London

January/Feburary 2016

South Street, Reading