REVIEW: Pornography | Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne
Warning: this review contains strong language and adult themes. Plus, the show stinks. Pornography manages to reveal little about the London terrorist bombings as claimed — or pornography.
I don’t usually like to mix metaphors, but in this case I will make an exception: this abysmal train-wreck of a play should have been strangled at birth.
Director David Myleg makes a brave attempt with a professional and in places technically slick production, and his actors are for the most part quite good. But they fight a battle they massively loose — especially when attempting regional British accents.
How could it be any different against a script that reveals in each character obvious clichés and supposedly “shock-horror” sexual quirks? A girl Chav stalking her teacher turns out to be a racist-pro-Nazi with lesbian tendencies. Denied the “muff” of her prey she threatens to “cut out her cunt with a spoon”. Charming.
A flirting couple with most peculiar roving accents from somewhere “up north” talk cheesy body smells and “fuck all night”. They’re in fact brother and sister. Delightful. A lonely old lady in her 80s and possibly demented is addicted to video porn and can’t resist feeling herself up on stage. Pleassse!
You might ask, as I did, what the hell has all this got to do with the July 7, 2005 London tube and bus bombings, or with British society in general?
I doubt a more dreary collection of whinging Pom characters has graced the Melbourne stage in a very long time. Actually, I think that is the reason why this play was selected, as it is really is a nice bit of old-fashion Pom bashing. If British society was like that, and I don’t believe for one second it is, as a former Londoner born and bred, I would never, ever go back.
As the night dragged on, apart from one 15 minute scene at the beginning of act two based on the thoughts of one of the men who carried the rucksacks full of explosives, virtually nothing illuminated the bombings. In fact, the play has nothing to say about pornography either.
As far as I see it, Pornography is a collection of loosely related skits possibly improvised at a drama school and written down and twisted by “Simon Stephens”.
Midway through the second half I was so frustrated by the corny set-up for yet another trite and juvenile revelation, I toyed with the idea of starting a slow hand-clap. But quite a few of the audience had already made their decision and had left at half time, so you can imagine how delighted my companion and I felt when a booming Australian accented voice, coming out of nowhere, announced “many Londoners walked home the night of the bombings”, thankfully bringing this fiasco to an abrupt and well deserved end.