Wednesday, 2 March 2016

A Top Ten

Finn Den Hertog asked about 'the best plays of the last thirty years'. I am going for a top ten - with comments. Not in order, except as they dribble out of my noggin.

David Harrower's forensic analysis of the aftermath of child abuse doesn't just play with the audience's values: it provides two profound character analyses. It nails the emotional trauma of abuse, tracing how it goes on to define and destroy lives.

Iphigenia in Splott
Politically, I have issues. But the script is so exacting, so passionate, it hides the problems while allowing the solo performer to find new depths of expression.

Bloody Mess
Oh, do Forced Entertainment make plays? This one explains why they are regulars on academic studies, a full-blown reflection of life in its alienated complexity. Totally tripped me out.

I saw the English translation, but it is another bold take on child abuse. Minimal, economical and disturbing, it refuses piety about social exclusion and strips back staging to an irreducible core of horror.

Prudencia Hart
It's fun and smart. It has music, it has Kylie songs, it has a sly sense of irony and a love of traditional ballads.

The Author
Oh hell, another one about child abuse. It's clever and does that complicity thing with the audience... Tim Crouch acts like he's your mate, then gets heavy...

Took a while for me to get it, but since I had to write three reviews to sort out my feelings... it's hardcore, and not just the subject matter.

Interlude: I have just noticed how many of these are about the abuse of women or children. A topic for another time...

Paul Bright's Confessions...
No list of Scottish theatre is complete without this... and they published my response in their script. Playful and serious, it's a play beyond a play within a play...

Long Live The Little Knife
I love me some David Leddy. It's the blend of really intelligent ideas and vaudeville humour. It's a heist, it's a shaggy dog tale, it messes with live performance. It has some abuse in it. Oh hell.

The Encounter
Solo show and a prime example of post-visual theatre. 

As a bonus, my nomination for worst script that still gets respect (for context)

The Crucible
Can you guess which white male is the hero? Tedious and too full of its own virtue to have any dramatic tension. 

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