"Thrill to a man making tea, laugh as he does his washing, gasp as he drops his toast, roar as he wipes a surface, cry as he puts on his jammies!" The publicity pulls no punches on the content of Anthony Neilson's new play, Realism, an International Festival and National Theatre of Scotland co-production.
The Scottish playwright is known for tackling such tricky material as mental breakdown, deviance, perversity and other dark recesses of the mind. Now he focuses on normality, whatever that may be.
I hesitate to say that the droll Stuart McQuarrie is playing himself, given the central character's toilet fantasies (which put a new slant on the term "lavatory humour"), but he plays someone also called Stuart McQuarrie. The play follows a day in his life when nothing much happens, but does so quite amusingly.
Even a dull day isn't so dull with bolshie inner voices, imaginary scenarios, surreal encounters and sexual fantasies. So, we find Stuart interacting angrily with Any Questions on the radio, having a cringe-making encounter with a telesalesman, and a freaky fantasy about his girlfriend and her sister in the bathroom.
Depending on your expectations of an evening at the theatre, you may or may not find this mildly amusing trivia enjoyable. Devised by Neilson and the company in rehearsal, Realism is a celebration of ordinariness that takes mundanity to a new level.
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