The Playgoer: more Slate London journal

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

more Slate London journal

June Thomas's terrific London theatre log continues all week. Day 1--with her review of "Rachel Corrie" is now available as a podcast as well.

Make sure you catch the line: "It says a lot about the British theater's appetite for political and controversial subject matter that a show that was too hot for a nonprofit off-Broadway company to handle is running in a West End house owned by the largest theater chain in the city." (June's links.)

In Tuesday's entry, her description of a new play at Royal Court sounds like an enviable night of theatre:

This trip, I had the ultimate Royal Court experience: attending the first public performance of a new work, Simon Stephens' Motortown. What's more, it hit the Royal Court trifecta: It contained scenes of senseless violence; the action constellated around a foul-mouthed psychopath; and it was shockingly powerful. (When you're sitting less than 100 yards from someone who seems to be on the point of setting fire to another human being, it's hard not to be excited, no matter how appalled you are.)

Motortown—a day in the life of Danny, a former soldier freshly returned from Basra, Iraq—focuses on the difficulty, perhaps the impossibility, of a trained killer returning to "normal" family life. It reveals the cruelty of sending soldiers into a war zone and then failing to talk with them about their experiences when they return. So many thrills, all of them guilt-inducing—the illicit frisson of violence, the squirminess of inappropriate sexual tension—and, for a New Yorker, the added shock of seeing eight excellent actors in a 100-minute play, many of them used in just one scene.

Next up at the Court: temporary ex-pat Christopher Shinn.

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