Review: Pornography

CHARLIE BOOTH went to watch Theatre Group’s production of Pornography and was impressed by its climax

Pornography, it’s called.

And I know what you’re all thinking but no, this isn’t a play following the life of a young female trying to make it in the industry. It is instead a rather tense story following the separate lives of nine characters dealing with their insane problems at the time when London went from winning the Olympic Bid, to the huge loss and devastation of the 7/7 Bombings.

I loved a lot of things about this play, and on the top of this list is Jack Harrison. Well bloody done. He is the crazy, sexually frustrated and, well, racist schoolboy who is completely infatuated with his fit schoolteacher.

His superb acting style completely draws the audience in as soon as he bounced on stage. I think everyone can identify with this character as someone they knew at school – just not as messed up. Still, it was unsettling yet funny to see that character on stage, getting crazier and crazier. The tone of the play was really set when Harrison got so mad he burnt a cigarette on his teacher’s face. It was fair to say we were in for an interesting show.

What makes this play exciting is the bizarre problems each character deals with; whether it’s a particularly pranged out woman juggling work and motherhood, or a widow asking for chicken at a stranger’s door (as an aside: annoying women seemed to be portrayed very well – especially you Katie Dalton).

The stars of Pornography

However my favourite situation was the relationship between Matt Seager and Tuey Critchfield’s characters. Their portrayal of two incest siblings with absent parents was acted fantastically. As the penultimate scene, it gave the play a breath of fresh air and really brought the energy up for the big finish. They deal with this err…interesting subject in an almost light hearted way, but as the scene goes on and we see them get together and then realise the atrocity of what they are doing, it gets more tense, dark and sad.

So then comes the big finish. Piers Saich. A terrorist. Classic casting. Piers brought out a spooky edge we had only had tasters of throughout the performance. He narrates his way through the midlands to London with a bomb in his backpack. He embodied the arsehole that those terrorists were and as an audience member I felt anger towards him. The play finished on a sad, thought provoking and reminiscent note. We heard the actors say a few different snippets of stories of real people’s lives who were affected in the 7/7 bombings.

The directors – Steph and Jane – said that the decision to do this play was a drunk one made on a warm evening at the Terrace last summer. Nevertheless, it was most definitely the right decision.

So although there were no naked, surgically enhanced blondes, there was a fantastically thought provoking, hard hitting and frankly, off key performance. Well done.