Legs Akimbo in Splott and Iphigenia

A couple of years back, Clara Brennan’s Spine did super well at Edinburgh and Soho. Read the reviews; they’re cracking. Spine, a monologue, was delivered by the talented Rosie Wyatt, who played a smart-arse teenage girl whose bleak prospects are transformed by an unlikely friendship with an elderly woman. Brennan’s play wasn’t exactly subtle when…

Cleansed, Crop-tops and Certainty

The crop-top  is back. This ghost of girl-power, this spectre of the Spice Girls, has returned, ready to objectify – yet emancipate – a new generation of women as they ‘gram their way to body confidence. But here’s a certainty: I will never again wear a crop-top. You can though; and you can choose from…

On pleasure, working-class men & Husbands and Sons

Phone off, sit down, shut up, look up, interpret, decipher, engage, discuss. Spectating isn’t effortless. To go watch something – and enable the spectacle by watching – is hard. But the more you see, the more you perform effortlessly. You get the social script – and its iterations. You do the routine. You might even…

Escaped Alone

I’ve never laughed so much at an apocalypse. One of my problems with the Libertarian Communist community is the lack of sense of humour when it comes to revolution; and, unexpectedly, Churchill’s new play nourished my need for a kind of dystopian humour in the otherwise cheerless landscape of revolutionary politics. And I wasn’t expecting…

Hateful Naturalism and Eight Single Sets

*spoiler alert I was hoping I’d get the 70mm thing. Even after the Saturday night ‘pilgrimage’ to Stroud (once more: Saturday night pilgrimage to Stroud) and the desultory 11pm interval in the foyer of Vue; even then, I thought I might, like, comprehend. And, despite my history of Tarantino pilgrimages (mostly to Stockport which shares,…

Thoughts on Chris Goode’s Weaklings

I think of these appropriated texts as historical documents—as evidence of who and how we are and what we do. And I think of the characters who speak these texts as characters like the rest of us: people through whom the culture speaks, often without the speakers knowing it. Thus spoke Chuck Mee re the…

National Theatre Wales Iliad

So on the 6am drive back to Cardiff from Llanelli yesterday morning, after watching the all-night marathon of National Theatre Wales’ Iliad, one of the people to whom I’d offered a ride was wondering about the suitability of this marathon for spectators who had hitherto not known Homer’s Iliad. Would the all-night retelling (of Christopher…

An Oak Tree

D.D and I had our first date at Tim Crouch’s The Author. It wasn’t exactly the best choice on my part, but we’ve been talking about it on-and-off since (both appalling date and enduring play) so something must have worked. And we were recalling this burgeoning, Tim Crouch inspired, ‘romance’ yesterday, for a friend and…

Corbyn, Consensus and Martyr

I’m a bit worried about this new liberal consensus. Those important agents of socialisation and mediators of our political reality, Twitter and Facebook, seem to be having a blanket effect on liberal discourse. Everyone, that is, everyone I know, is doing and saying the same thing: jezwecan. But when we talk about social or cultural…

Dismaland and ‘Entry Level’ Anarchism

I like a bit of elitism, but sometimes it can go too far. Jonathan Jones, Renaissance art fan, isn’t the best arbiter of what’s happening at Weston, but, yet, see his review. He starts with a joke about the town’s condition, followed by a whinge on his own ennui at Dismaland – now fully operational at The…

The Skriker, prescience and ‘The Northern Powerhouse’

What is it about The Skriker? It’s a few weeks since I saw Sarah Frankcom’s (now closed) version at the Manchester Royal Exchange, but it’s still resonating. The weekend before I saw it, I read Susannah Clapp’s review, which started with how ‘extraordinary prescient’ it was. I did kind-of wonder how this phantasmagorical, twenty-year-old play,…