The good, the bad and the avant-garde

NEW STAGES

The Brutality of Fact

New End Theatre, London

Philip Larkin's celebrated dismissal of family life ("they fuck you up, your mum and dad"...) opens the programme for by the American writer Keith Reddin, and certainly the relatives Reddin portrays are no advertisement for the joys of family life. Mom is getting hazy, one daughter is dead, another lives in Guam, a third is alcoholic and a fourth is a Jehovah's Witness. Since Guam and death are off the map, the play focuses on the latter two daughters and follows the explosions that occur when they meet up after years apart.

In a series of short, sassy scenes, Reddin contrasts the resolutely bad Maggie and the determinedly good Jackie, following Maggie's progress towards sobriety, Jackie's gathering confusion about paradise and Mom's uncertain position between them.

It is a neatly structured, funny and enjoyable play, but as it progresses the Larkin reference becomes mystifying. Apart from a couple of remarks about how mom and dad were too busy with cocktail parties to attend to their daughter's needs, it is hard to see how the parents messed them up. Both daughters' addictions seemed to have more to do with their sexuality than their childhood, in as much as any explanation emerges.

Kathryn Pogson is wonderfully belligerent and funny as Maggie, Barbara Barnes is disturbingly drawn as Jackie and Marjorie Yates is excellent as their world-weary mother, Val. But both play and production hint at depths not fully sounded.

Sarah Hemming

Lucky

Young Vic, London

Before David Glass's production of The Mosquito Coast arrives at the Young Vic's main house next week, the director-performer takes the stage of the studio with an extraordinarily powerful piece that reminds us how he made his name. In Lucky, Glass uses the fact that physical theatre relies on non-verbal expression to try to enter into the withdrawn world of the autistic child. The result is a fusion of style and subject that is sometimes spell-bindingly beautiful and sometimes crosses the boundaries of taste to profoundly disturbing effect.

Glass performs in an open scaffolding box that suggests the psychological cage into which his character has been born. He arrives twisted and silent and hides beneath the boards of the stage. He is accompanied by Sarah Collins, who plays keyboards, runs effects and embodies a mother / carer figure who tries to reach the lonely human with objects, touch and sounds. The show is full of startling images - at one point, Collins lies on the stage, letting Glass stroke her hair as he slowly crams it into his mouth as if hungry for human contact.

But while Glass lends the character moments of calm dignity, he also suggests the terrifying abyss over which his life is suspended, occasionally lurching out over the audience with a terrible scream. Extremely distressing, this is also highly effective. We cannot judge how accurately Glass, Collins and their director Rae Smith convey the experience of autism, but they draw us with them into their imagined projection of the condition. Bold and moving theatre. SH

Voodoo City

BAC, London

Stan's Cafe, who devised and perform this work, advertise their commitment to "exploring the possibilities of new theatre", which here means a brutal avant-garde cabaret performed on a scaffolding wrestling-ring to a screaming rock score. The multimedia show is topped and tailed by a social lament written in the style of Allen Ginsberg ("break yourself in this concrete place"). In between are bitter sketches, plotting despair and isolation in a barren industrial world. In the best, two of the impressive four- strong cast studiously arrange household debris into a nonsensical altar and then kid themselves into diabolic possession. In another, a woman on a precipice finds herself unable to control her hands (actually the hands of another actress) and humiliates herself by making uncontrollable passes at a bemused by-standing male. The company claim that their work is unpalatable because it is true, but their mixture of wise humour and expressionist din would be tricky to swallow in any studio theatre. It would make more sense for them to perform in a public space, fighting for attention with the landscape they are describing and causing the eyes of innocent passers-by to jump out of their sockets.

Tom Morris

Arts and Entertainment
Saw point: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Serena’
film
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
musicReview: 1989's songs attempt to encapsulate dramatic emotional change in a few striking lines
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Boy George performing with Culture Club at Heaven

musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker