by Joe Penhall.
Coliseum Theatre Company at Grange Arts Centre Rochdale Road OL9 6EA To 30 June 2012.
Tue-Sat 7.30pm Mat 30 June 2.30pm.
Audio-described 28 June.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.
TICKETS: 0161 624 2829.
Review: Stoon 20 Jun 2012.
Don’t keep taking the tabloids..
I’ll admit to carrying baggage about Joe Penhall’s tabloid basher, after a 2009 encounter which felt mini-bar sized small beer even in those pre hash tag media days (the New Vic’s sub-standard production did no favours either). Still, I went with an open chequebook of reappraisal only to find that dumb could get dumber.
The play does potentially have satirical value in the way of Drop The Dead Donkey or The Thick Of It, yet needs to borrow from their box of virtues which showcase irony despite colourful and predictable characters who retain charismatic souls worthy of Leveson-esque redemption.
It’s never going to be a classic but there are journalistic pearls to extract via precision timing, attention to pauses, appreciation of tone and a well-drilled cast. This production is devoid of all those, rendering the early part (when two characters are acting at acting) cringeworthy spoof.
All three cast require varying degrees of censorship though misdirection will mitigate penalties – I’ve adopted one in particular as a future benchmark for annoying performances.
(There’s no pleasure dancing on graves but it’s hard to feel goodwill for this when watching this 56 second clip from 1986 rewards so richly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVIkmJcodFM.)
Liz: Kate Coogan.
Barry: Steve Huison.
Greg: Leigh Symonds.
Director: Kevin Shaw.
Lighting: Jane Barrek.
Sound: Lorna Munden.