An outrageous media-take on militant Islam, and a cranky perspective on the birth of Christianity are amusingly dramatised in an evening comprised of two monologues, which can be seen as individual shows or a piquant pairing.
In Product World: Remix, the playwright Mark Ravenhill performs an expanded version of the piece he premiered at the 2005 Edinburgh Festival. Narcissistically strutting about the stage with a bogus air of urgent creative sincerity, his character is a would-be movie director trying to pitch a preposterous post-9/11 movie, Mohammed and Me, to a mute and increasingly unconvinced starlet.
An exhaustive summary of the film's serenely racist, sexist and capitalist narrative, the monologue is clearly intended to be a satire of the self-serving way that movies exploit the "clash of civilisations". Though her boyfriend Troy jumped to his death from one of the towers (cue a bad gag about the "fall of Troy"), the heroine Amy is torn between lust for revenge, and for "dusky" Mohammed, when she finds herself seated next to him on a plane. In London, she ends up accommodating not only her new lover but a conspiracy of jihadists, including Osama bin Laden himself. Porn and action-packed violence speciously pose as a drama of conflicting values, with the wildly inconsistent Amy following her heart in some very far-fetched adventures.
Product World: Remix is clever and cutting, but it feels more like an overextended sketch that outsmarts itself.
Creating an easy, teasing rapport with the audience, the stand-up comic Stewart Lee (co-creator of Jerry Springer - The Opera) is a more assured presence as a likeable bloke-cum-unreliable narrator in What Would Judas Do?. An engagingly quirky account of the week leading up to the Crucifixion, we see Jesus through the eyes of an apostle frustrated by the Messiah's tendency to squander his revolutionary potential in miraculous party-tricks and parables.
Judas wants a health policy not one-off healings, and he becomes convinced that Jesus, aware of his own shortcomings, wants him to orchestrate a politically explosive finale that will redeem a confused, underachieving career.
To 3 February ( www.bushtheatre.co.uk; 020-7610 4224)Reuse content