Theatre Review

Theatre Review: Shopping and Fucking @ Lyric Hammersmith

d

2.5/5 Stars

Mark Ravenhills 1996 dramatic comedy leaps off the stage, engaging you the second you walk into the theatre. With the raised seating in the stalls as well as seating on stage, this revival of Ravenhills first full length play engages the audience immediately.

Before the show even started the actors could be seen onstage chatting with audience members, even attempting to sell 50p badges to a few of us – quite successfully as most of those spoken to pulled out their purses, myself included. This charismatic cast forces the audience to feel entertained from the second they sit down and it’s great. Together they showed us bold, brave and unafraid performances. In a play that is so explicit they were confident and forced us to accept them for their craziness. In a show where emotions have been replaced by transaction, the depth of their characters and the underlying subtlety of feeling in their performances was quite fantastic.

The production screams ‘look at me’ from the bright set design to the colourful costumes, or lack thereof – one thing this show doesn’t shy away from is nudity, offering the audience an unforgiving glance at a world without inhibitions. It is fast-paced, energetic and crazy, something Sean Holmes the Lyrics artistic director, obviously wanted to exaggerate with the use of such interesting staging. And yet the feeling of loneliness and abandonment shout through the cracks of the happy façade throughout the show successfully.

The breaking of the fourth wall in the first few minutes is a trend that carries on throughout, with a member of the audience pulled up to read the one of the final monologues. This is, after all, an experimental piece of theatre therefore it is not shy to take risks, something which can be admired. However, the inclusion of the audience doesn’t totally fit the piece and instead of coming across as fun and exciting, it translates as unnecessary, slowing the play down – something which can be detrimental in a show that is so fast-paced.

The Lyric theatre is really good at playing productions that will shock you and sometimes I think they do this to the detriment of the actual story. This is one show where I feel that has been the case. Parts of the text felt quite outdated, something that Holmes must have been aware of and in his attempt to modernise Ravenhills writing he overdid the shock factor, leaving the emotional responses we as an audience were to feel for the characters slightly lacking.

Overall though, this show was bold and experimental and confident and unforgiving in it’s attempt to push the boundaries. Sure they may have missed the mark at certain points but overall I have to applaud them for trying something new and being so unafraid. Unfortunately, this show finished on the 5th November, but it left me and I’m sure anyone else who had the chance to catch it, thinking about the future of theatre.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s