“What are you looking at?”
On the one hand, you want to be supporting efforts to take a fresh look at gender in our theatres. On the other, you want there to be clarity and real understanding about what is being done. A big selling point of Philip Ridley’s Angry, a set of six monologues, is that they’ve been written to be gender-neutral and depending on the night you go, they’ll be performed by a man or a woman.
Admirable an enterprise as it is, the term gender-neutral feels like a misnomer though. For the roles are still firmly gendered as variously performed by Georgie Henley and Tyrone Huntley. So in the same way that the Bridge Theatre or the Young Vic whacks up an all-genders sign right next that for the gents or ladies, it is missing the point in not moving to a place that is actually free of the construct of gender.
It doesn’t help that Angry proves to be a rather testing experience. The six shorts gather together a whole range of recognisable Ridley tropes but they don’t cohere into anything significant. How could they when some of them are barely fleshed out ideas, others just punchlines to extended jokes. Huntley and Henley find moments to shine when they can but this is just disconnected, dystopian dullness.