Theatre: More tales of the city

50 REVOLUTIONS WHITEHALL THEATRE LONDON

"OH, FUCKING HELL, I've got a lesbian in me!" wails the hulking bouncer of the Paradise Club in Murray Gold's shrewdly witty and enjoyable new play. I've seen a protagonist's "inner child" projected as a separate person before but this is the first instance I can recall of a white male character's "feminine side" being externalised as a formidably butch black dyke (Michele Austin) who knees him viciously in the groin when he expresses incredulity.

It was never likely that the anima of this unreconstructedly sexist doorman would turn out to be a withdrawn Emily Dickinson-type, but though the bouncer and his satellite-self are hot for the same girl, their seduction techniques prove to be wildly different. "You're a strange man," cries the baffled object of their joint interest. "Why call me a man at all? It's so hurtful," purrs the feminine side as she shimmies around her.

Sexual confusion and complicatedly screwed-up relationships are rife in this drama, which follows disparate groups of characters as they keep intersecting in a dreamy, druggie night-time London. Having fashionably proclaimed that heterosexuals should learn from the gay community about how to avoid turning love into oppression, the perplexed actor Peter (Nathaniel Parker) finds himself hoist by his own petard when he falls for Nicola Walker's programmatically tough Linda, who could write a textbook on the justifications for her having several partners at once.

The agonising tensions this creates lead to an explosive scene where Peter's frustrations erupt in a lava-flow of misogynist obscenity which keeps comically freezing while, directly to the audience, he calculates the damage ("That's it finished, I should think. There's no road back from `cunt'") of the insults he can't control.

Dominic Dromgoole's entertaining production sometimes looks a bit rickety, and there's also a pronounced unevenness in the writing. On the one hand, the scene where two homeless women wander onto the stage at the first- night performance of a neo-angry play (entitled Cod With Everything) comes over as too crude and untextured a gambit for exposing the bad faith and mixed motives of those involved in social protest art. On the other hand, there's real satiric vitality in the speech where Cod's agonised, obsessive, young author (Francis Lee) ties himself in hilariously self-serving ideological knots while rehearsing his imminent interview with a journalist from the hateful Murdoch press.

Yes, the piece would have more impact in a studio space and yes, the plot lines could have more dynamism as they head for their literal collision. But the talent is genuine and it's better to have imperfectly structured abundance than streamlined emptiness.

To 25 Sept, 0171-369 1735

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

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

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones