TV Review: Beautiful People (Series 1)

Perfect fun for lockdown viewing, Series 1 of Beautiful People is an indisputable camp classic

“Reading’s such a dump guys, I don’t know how you do it”

There’s camp and then there’s camp. The first episode of Series 1 of Beautiful People contains, among other things, Égoïste advert reenactments, Tennessee Williams-based inner monologues to the tune of  ‘I Will Survive’, future dames Sarah Niles and Olivia Colman wrestling to the tune of ‘Spice Up Your Life’, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor covering ‘Jolene’. Naturally, it is huge amounts of fun.

Written by Jonathan Harvey from Simon Doonan’s memoirs, this 2008 comedy drama follows the life of thirteen-year-old Simon, who isn’t letting the fact that he lives in the sururban drudgery of Reading get in the way of being absolutely fabulous. He dreams of moving to London but until then, we get to see tales from his eventful childhood. Continue reading “TV Review: Beautiful People (Series 1)”

Review: Fit and Proper People, Soho Theatre

“Gonna tell me next that the game is all about the comfort of social habit and a worldwide need for tribal ritual and worship within the parameters of global capitalism…”

There’s a great sense of fun around the Soho Theatre’s new show, the RSC-commissioned Fit and Proper People by Georgia Fitch: the theatre has been transformed into a miniature football stadium with East and West stands, terrace seating and flashy advertising hoardings; turn up in a football shirt and you’ll get a free drink and there’s even free pies and a prize raffle at half-time. But as Fatboy Slim’s ‘Right Here Right Now’ swells loudly over the PA system and the cast launch into choreographer Spencer Soloman’s stylised slo-mo movement, it soon becomes apparent that whilst there’s a lot of show on display, the content unmistakably leaves a lot to be desired.

Fitch’s meticulously researched play has taken much inspiration from real life events in the world of football and particularly the murky backroom dealings as ethics are increasingly pushed aside in the race to top the league. The rush to secure foreign investors, the sweeping of numerous scandals under the carpet, the exploitation of young players, the experience of women in such a male-dominated industry, the treatment of loyal fans as profit margins are pushed, there’s a plethora of issues which Fitch folds into the narrative but they just meld into a cacophonous mess that whilst brimming with enthusiasm, lacks any sort of clarity. Continue reading “Review: Fit and Proper People, Soho Theatre”

Not a Review: Cinema Red, Royal Court

“Men get hard just watching me dance”

As part of the International Playwrights season, Cinema Red was one of the rehearsed readings featuring writers with whom the Royal Court has established relationships in order to give them opportunities to showcase the work that has been developed in their creative partnerships in a certain region of the world. At the moment it is Latin America under the spotlight with Colombian play Our Private Life currently running upstairs. This particular play though is by Mexican playwright Zaría Abreu and we watched it in illustrious company which included Mike Bartlett and Chloë Moss.

As ever with readings, this shouldn’t be treated as a formal review, but rather for information as a collection of my thoughts about it. Set in Mexico, in and around a brothel/porn cinema, it follows the lives of some of people who float around, visiting, working there and the dreams they have to get them through the day. Directed by Indhu Rubasingham, it took a slightly different take on the way it was read, one that I hadn’t seen before and took a little getting used to, in that in each of the four locations, a different actor took the responsibility of reading the stage directions but I soon got used to it. And it really was an engaging 90 minutes of thrilling new writing and some great acting even whilst reading from scripts sitting down in chairs. Continue reading “Not a Review: Cinema Red, Royal Court”