Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"No Offence" / Dirty Protest Mixtape

The most recent “On The Edge” reading I attended, at Chapter, Cardiff was of “No Offence”, by veteran actor and author Terry Victor, who also directed. Described as a “comedy of terrors”, it depicts a small theatre company (“Fire On Stage!”) staging a provocative performance piece on the subject of censorship, which is eventually disrupted by agents of the repressive state. Very elegantly written, it ably satirises the self-importance of the artist, and skewers past injustices, such as the hounding of Lenny Bruce (although, as I understand it, he was to a large extent the author of his own misfortune, and had, perhaps, a simplistic take on the power of language) and Mary Whitehouse’s attack on “The Romans in Britain” (whose director, Michael Bogdanov was in the audience). An intentionally unfunny, self-righteous stand-up comedy segment in the middle seemed a bit of a dead weight, however; and the play lapsed into melodrama at the end, which tended to undermine the measured nature of the debate it aimed to inspire. An excellent cast though – Julie Barclay, Joshua McCord, Laura Dalgleish, Dan McCloud, Liz Gardiner – and the piece certainly provoked thought, even if only about our own boundaries, censorship being something to which everyone objects, until the point at which we don’t. Perhaps this kind of internal conflict, rather than clenched-fist confrontation with religious-political authoritarianism, might make a good subject for a more nuanced kind of drama.

The final Dirty Protest night of 2008 - The Mixtape - was a celebratory theatrical extravaganza, held at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach, featuring a selection of readings of new short plays and monologues (theme:- settling scores) and popular pieces from throughout the year (not including mine). A plethora of stellar and unfamiliar names and faces, with the tone alternating between the comic and the poignant. As always, the team provided a highly entertaining evening in an inspired setting (despite the intrusively loud music coming from elsewhere in the venue), and, once more, abundant evidence of the richness and enthusiasm within the independent (i.e. unpaid) theatre scene in Wales.


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