New Theatre: God of Carnage
God of Carnage is on this week at the New Theatre and it’s pretty damn good.
The actors’ first words are not unintentionally blended out by music: everything these four suburban stereotypes have to say is painfully redundant. Having met solely to discuss an utterly irrelevant fight between their 11-year-old boys, the two couples soon run out of forced compliments and desperate small talk.
Inevitably, the dangerously attractive question arises: What if? What if everyone laid down five layers of bullshit, and revealed their actual thoughts?
It is simply a question of time until the first social mask slips, and the audience is delighted when Alan’s (Harry Bradley) irony explodes into unhidden ridicule, finally giving full access to the comedic aspect of the absurd charade.
From then on, we are led through a most wonderful display of brutal honesty. There are small, vital rebellions: the lighting of a forbidden cigar, the celebratory casting out of a child’s hamster to its certain death on a street curb.
And, as the characters joyfully untangle themselves from the burden of social norms, even the boldest of confessions are made: “I was inches away from joining the KKK”.
Eventually, all characters are forced to reveal their unconcealed, perverse selves. Provoked by something one may simply identify as life, they turn on each other and we witness men being destroyed and built up again before our eyes.
No soul is spared: even the children, initially sacred and innocent, are admitted to “consume our lives and destroy them”.
As the characters’ claims become increasingly outrageous, the play highlights what is too often forgotten: the boundless satisfaction linked to a ridiculous fight.
In fact, one is filled with a strong urge to leap onto stage and join in, proving that there is little more attractive than the possibility of honesty crushing the rules of society.
This display of true human nature breaks down the facades we so desperately hold on to and rudely asks: “Are we ever interested in anything other than ourselves?”
This wonderfully acted performance of God of Carnage truly is a masterpiece of liberating satisfaction.
God of Carnage is on until Saturday, get tickets here http://newtheatre.org.uk/ (Freshers get half-price for Saturday’s matinee)