Royal Court Theatre, London – until 27 July 2019
London’s theatre scene is awash with productions which offer a ‘fresh’ take on classics but Jasmine Lee-Jones’ play Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner demonstrates exactly what really ‘fresh’ theatre is – and should be.
Closeted in her bedroom, Cleo (Danielle Vitalis) is venting her anger and frustration at the world using Twitter. However, she doesn’t anticipate the storm she will create not just on social media but with her friend Kara (Tia Bannon).
It starts with Cleo’s sarcastic tweet under her handle @incognegro about reality TV star Kylie Jenner being described as a ‘self-made billionaire’: “YT woman born into rich American family, somehow against all odds manages to get more rich…” She goes on to call out the hypocrisy pointing out the cultural appropriation, colourism and inequality.
A glib death threat becomes a musing on how you kill a ‘social media figure’ and the ensuing Twitter storm serves to highlight not only the toxicity that exists on social media but within society.
The responses to her Twitter thread are a mixture of ugly and vicious and increasingly threatening, exposing deep-rooted racism and misogyny. But a new storm brews off-line between firm friends Kara and Cleo. The tension on Twitter exposes tension in their long-term friendship – past hurts surface and their own prejudices are exposed. The writing is smart and bold mixing social media patter and Tweets with banter and conversation.
It is fiercely intelligent and keenly observed, performed with chameleon-like acting ability as Vitalis and Bannon replicate multiple voices from the Twitter thread.
You might have to work a bit to keep up if you are unfamiliar with some of it and I must admit I was about halfway through when I worked out what TL referred to (timeline for those in the same boat).
But I really like it for that, it puts you in a landscape where the language is both familiar and strange. It is challenging, entertaining and clever.
It makes a lot of what is on stage in London look stodgy and staid.
Seven Methods For Killing Kylie Jenner is fresh theatre, it made me feel young and old, angry and ashamed, it was interesting, revealing and funny.
I’m giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and it is 90 minutes straight through.
You might also like:
My London theatre highlights and lowlights of 2019 so far.
Review: Strange Fruit, Bush Theatre – exposing and painful but distracts from key themes.
From the archive: My first every rehearsed reading (and it was a new play by Nick Payne)
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