British grunge hits rock bottom in “Beg!,” a chaotic mishmash of physical theater and gross-out schlocker that’s as entertaining as a night in the morgue. Though avant-garde gatherings may bite, this first production of Chicago-born U.K. commercials director Robert Golden looks set for a long career on the shelf. Wicket chances are zip.
Story is set in a dreary private hospital, St. Caninus, in which order has broken down and the well-heeled management is pondering further cuts. Someone has murdered the head of research, which sets off a power struggle for the vacant post between women’s ward head Penny (Peta Lily) and the oily Dr. Rogers (Julian Bleach).
Opening reel, full of blackly comic gross-out fare and a raft of undefined characters, sets the tone. By the time the plot comes vaguely into view around reel three, the mix of sophomore antics, bargain-basement production values and watch-me-shock effects is well on the road to nowhere.
Brit mime artiste Lily, who co-wrote/directed the recent fringe production on which pic is based, is serviceable as the femme doctor battling a cynical management. (Film can also be read as a satire on the U.K.’s privatizing health system.) Other roles are played at full tilt.
Technically, pic is adequate.