Friday, 22 August 2008

preemptive vengeance

If you're in Edinburgh, go and see Royal Holloway Theatre's production of Darning Jilly. It's a mess, a phasing goulash of nasties and red-shift rant-statuary, teeming with OTT wit, vivesection-lyricism, cheap gags, dear dry-heaves, Kane-tooled koans, and - despite the mercurial character-forms and allegory-spasms - somehow abounding with twist & revelation. All with the faintest burble of Boosh in the background. The look is the "a bit like being shrunk teeny and told to run through somebody's body from the feet to the mouth for charity" look. It gets quite fast and shouty-overlappy in places, I can't decide if that's a production concession - the only way of getting through so much monstrous capillary-rich syrup - or a necessary dynamic in a play partly about patriarchal systemic shouting-down. What if you were to take systemic culpability at face value, would it be OK to go around killing people? Probably. A kind of comparative tidiness of thesis slides in during the final bits, a snarky blade snicking against every rib: something like, gender is our basic social antagonism, more fundamental even than the distinction between the perpetrator and the victim of violence. And the men are left in control of science, history, leisure and celebrity, or so they seem to think, but there are a few loose ends. Um five stars.

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