Sunday 25 February 2018

Angry - Review

Southwark Playhouse, London


Written by Philip Ridley
Directed by Max Lindsay

Georgie Henley and Tyrone Huntley

In Angry at the Southwark Playhouse, Tyrone Huntley and Georgie Henley (Him and Her in the play) are quite possibly giving two of the finest performances to be found on London’s fringe. As they tackle Philip Ridley’s six monologues alternately one apiece, each of them immerses themselves in a coruscating display of compelling physical and vocal theatre.

If only Ridley’s script was as good as his cast. He has a keen eye for the zeitgeist of the time and his six speeches touch upon the moments that are recognisable to most of each night’s audience. But the flimsy structure that interlinks the pieces is close to non-existent resulting in a 90 minute (no interval) onslaught of little more than virtue signalling.

There’s a gender neutrality to the show that is of the moment too. Each night sees Him alternate with Her in the performance routine, and even in the brief cast sheet the typical stereotypes are challenged as “Her” is printed in blue, while “Him” is denoted in pink. Disappointingly, Ridley’s arguments are as fluid as his treatment of the sexes.

A very shouty opening routine – the only dialogue of the evening – makes liberal use of the F-word to the extent that the scene could have heralded a Derek & Clive tribute act. But as the solo scenes play out the play evolves into a litany of issues rather than a literary treat.

There’s a potentially gratuitous nod to the plight of seaborne trafficked individuals in Huntley’s final monologue Air (along with a suspicious whiff of anti-semitism too elsewhere in that routine) while in Bloodshot,  Henley’s encounter with an assasilant in the park turns a moment of a woman’s sexual terror into her ecstasy. This scene in particular is deeply troubling, almost as if a misogynist Ridley is sanctioning sexual violence. 

Ridley's work may be a disjointed take on dystopia but the acting is flawless. Go and see Angry if only to catch two skilled performers delivering a monologue masterclass.

Runs until 10th March 

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