Theatre

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The Independent Culture
Okay, kiddo, name that play: dame hires dude to kill her dork of a fiance.

The dude does the deed but puts the screws, bedwise, on the dame to return the favour. We're talking blood. We're talking guts. We're talking serious lust. We're talking Jacobean tragedy, aren't we?

Yes and no. That was the plot of Middleton and Rowley's The Changeling (1622), but it is also the plot of The Ugly Man (left), a play by Canadian wunderkind, Brad Fraser, whose Poor Super Man has just finished a sell-out success at Hampstead, while Unidentified Love. . . has been made into a movie. In the midst of final rehearsals, the co-director, Fenton Gray, is buzzing. 'It has a really bizarre quality. Even more than his other plays, it is an open book. There's no specific location, but we've gone for Arizona, for the heat. It's a real opportunity for the production team.'

Gray describes the play as being like a roller-coaster with short, fast-moving scenes. 'You can watch it on any level. Either as a really good story, as a good laugh, or as a study of power and revenge.'

His production aims for a B-movie feel but, stylistic considerations aside, why not stick to the original? 'This is more fun. There are no long speeches and these days, with soap opera, attention spans are much shorter. Our first production, the regional premiere of Fraser's Unidentified Love. . ., was a huge hit, especially with young audiences. Let's face it, it sells better.'

'The Ugly Man', BAC, Lavender Hill, SW11 (071-223 2223) 25 Oct-27 Nov, Tue-Sat 8pm, Sun 6pm

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