Theatre – Pornography – STCSA – Space Theatre – 3.5K

In July 2005, London went from being on top of the world following their successful bid for the 2012 Olympics, to reeling from the horror of the bombings on the Underground which killed 52 people. The juxtaposition of these two events provides a powerful background for the exploration of the community psyche at the time. Pornography explores the side of life that society doesn’t usually talk about but which is never-the-less there; whether it be a secret fetish, a dangerous obsession, a prejudiced way of thinking or a desire to shake up the world somehow.

A dark, open space, coupled with fractures of songs and flashes of light (Wendy Todd, Jason Sweeney, Mark Pennington), help to create a raw atmosphere – a window into the inner turmoil of the characters. Some issues with the voice amplification, necessary to achieve the vocal affects utilised, were present and will hopefully be fixed for the remainder of the run.

The characters in the scenes are never named, but there is wonderful detail in their stories, creating realistic individuals who could be anyone on the street. Director Daniel Clarke has used the talents of his four actors (Matt Crook, Carmel Johnson, Ansuya Nathan and Nick Pelomis) well, and in interesting combinations. The performances of the ensemble are all excellent, with a few lapses in accent being the biggest quibble. The monologues are delivered with confidence and the small appearances by the other actors add some aesthetic intrigue. The chemistry in shared scenes is wonderful, with the gender swapped interaction of Crook and Johnson particularly captivating.

Despite the quality of each aspect of the show, however, there seemed to be an element missing to make it really powerful. For a show that is about highlighting and fighting the disconnection in today’s society, it too failed to stir up particularly strong emotions of any kind. As a project in telling stories, in conveying information, in showing a snap-shot of history from the point of view of ordinary people, it works. As a means by which to make people think and feel differently about life, about how they interact with others, to make changes and to move forward, it is somewhat lacking.

Kryztoff rating: 3.5K

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