Two Lips Indifferent Red / Bush Theatre, London
The obviousness of Oglesby's point wouldn't matter if her treatment of it weren't also obvious. The plot revolves around the relationship between Jo, a successful catwalk model (played by former model Saffron Burrows, above), and her mother Angela (Fiona Mollison), a mature student. Both feel trapped by Jo's good looks - Jo has a strong line in philosophy and would rather be a photographer; Angela finds in her daughter a constant reminder of her own age and fading charms.
This relationship is established with some plausibly tense, back-stabbing dialogue. But the situation's moral potential is wrecked by the presence of Andrew, Jo's father and Angela's husband, a cosmetic surgeon with an endearing line in grim pre-op humour (he heads off to a liposuction with a merry cry of "All hands to the pump") and no other redeeming qualities - having already messed up a nose-job for Jo, destroying her sense of smell, he's now boosting Angela's confidence by offering her a turn on the operating table as a birthday present. It may be the case that all cosmetic surgeons are insensitive monsters on this scale; but you feel that we're dealing in the realm of theoretical probabilities here. The effect is to weaken Oglesby's case - the unintended implication seems to be, not that cosmetic surgery has bad effects but that clumsily offered cosmetic surgery has bad effects; we need more persuasive salesmen on the case.
There are some incidental pleasures in Vicky Featherstone's production - solid central performances by Burrows and Mollison, and strong support from Rebecca Blake and Sarah Coomes, doubling as a pair of brainless catwalk models and a pair of brainless beauticians (you feel Oglesby doesn't have a great deal of respect for women who go into the beauty industry). The beauticians in particular get some jolly one-liners - arguing over whether Madonna is a pornographer or not ("I just wouldn't want to be the cause of anyone getting an erection unless I was there with them in the same room to do something about it"). But these are really caricatures; it's ironic that while Oglesby has set out to write a play about the evils of a society that judges people by their looks, her characterisations only go skin-deep.
n To 7 Oct. Booking: 0181-743 3388
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
comedy Erm...he seems to be back
tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
Felicity Jones on being Stephen Hawking's wife in The Theory of Everything: 'I didn't want her to be a saint'
EastEnders Christmas special, review: Brilliant Danny Dyer glues you to your seat
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader