‘Makes for theatre that packs a punch’: ANGRY – Southwark Playhouse

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

Southwark Playhouse, London – until 10 March 2018
Guest reviewer: Joanna Trainor

“Remember me; I sparkled.” Philip Ridley’s ability to write about the most grotesque scenarios with the most beautiful language will never cease to amaze.

The director tweeted to say he was glad I enjoyed the show, but “enjoy” never feels like the right word for Ridley. Uncomfortable, anxious, grossed out, but oddly moved by the whole thing seems far more appropriate. And let’s face it, we wouldn’t want our in yer face theatre any other way.

Angry is a series of stand-alone monologues performed by Georgie Henley (HER) and Tyrone Huntley (HIM). They vary in length and topic from a minute on a literal murder on the dancefloor, to a strangely emotive extended piece on a boy with a bloodshot eye at Victoria Park.

HIM and HER alternate who delivers which piece on a show-by-show basis, and it’s fair to say that the person who goes second gets the better gig. In this version that person was Huntley.

The eponymous piece, Angry, that opens the show is a little purposelessly shoutier than the usual Ridley. Screaming at a volume you didn’t think humans were capable of, it’s disconcerting but ultimately not that effective. A disappointing beginning to something that finishes so spectacularly.

That something is Air – reminiscent of Mercury Fur; as the every-day seamlessly becomes extraordinarily awful. Huntley makes the scenario sound entirely plausible; his innocence giving rationale to a series of events that seem unfathomable.

The primal drumming, from sound designer Jim Whitcher, builds an unbearable amount of tension in your chest. Usually sitting in the round creates an atmosphere of camaraderie in the theatre but this noise, and Cassie Mitchell’s lighting, does a good job of isolating you from any other audience members in an increasingly claustrophobic environment. We are trapped with Huntley in the airless space, fighting for breath alongside him.

It’s not peak Ridley, but still makes for theatre that packs a punch.

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Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.
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Laura Kressly on RssLaura Kressly on Twitter
Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.

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