Lyric Hammersmith – until 10 March 2018
Guest reviewer: Shaun Dicks
Real but unreal. Fearless, provocative and unapologetic. These are the words I choose to describe the Royal Exchange Theatre transfer of Jubilee.
In the world of theatre where everything is imitation, this is stone cold reality. This show is a story of gender and sexual fluidity, the punk movement and the state of society. This story follows a group of punk, free spirits led by Travis Alabanza as Amyl Nitrate; it follows them as they tackle social and political issues like race, gender, sexuality and politics.
Chris Goode’s script, adapted from Derek Jarman and James Whaley’s original screenplay, is well crafted. The dialogue between characters is realistic and the multiple monologues are insightful, passionate and fuelled by a generation’s angst.
The delivery of this powerful script is paramount and this energetic cast rises to the occasion. There is no particular weak link in this young cast, but Alabanza is the stand out. This doesn’t feel like a character but an extension of Alabanza; there is a passion in the speech that makes it real. The words don’t feel scripted for them, it is like a protest on the streets.
Despite all the show’s positives, the one downside is that with the anarchic style that is synonymous with the punk movement, there are a few sloppy moments within the show that hurt the pacing a little bit.
What I truly loved about this show, and is a major selling point for it, is the Political Incorrectness. The willingness to say things that others – in a world of political correctness and censorship – wouldn’t say, is bold.
The breaking down of British history, full frontal nudity and extreme opinions was refreshing. It was sex and anarchy at its finest. The world would be a better place if we had the room to express like Jubilee did. The honesty and severity of this piece is its crowning glory. I highly recommend Jubilee.