‘Mack And Mabel’ Saturday Night Review

Dear Cast and Crew of Mack And Mabel,

Imagine this if you can: your friends have been planning an amazing dinner for some months. It’s going to be fish of some kind, maybe haddock or plaice, with some rumours saying it might even be something really glamorous like king salmon. Their descriptions of it are mouth-watering: you simply can’t wait to get down there and dig in, such is the excitement they’ve kicked up about it.

But then you turn up and, not only is the dinner not cooked, the fish is still in the goddamn sea.

That’s what seeing ‘Mack And Mabel’ was like on Wednesday night. It was not just undercooked, it was like watching the fishermen trying to find out where the fish was (the fish is a metaphor for the script – I might drop the analogy now). As such my review was average.

So it’s with genuine delight that I can say you really showed me what for on Saturday. I came back suspecting you might turn the ship around, and you more than did that. Where previously you were slow, half-hearted and uncertain, you were now exploding with energy, never leaving the audience a moment to collect its breath before shooting for the next line, scene or dance move. The funny moments were funnier, the sad moments were sadder, the dancing was slick and precise, the relationships were believable, the acting was unbelievable (as it were) and the show, overall, was outstanding.

I have never seen a show get so much better in such a short amount of time. In fact I find it hard to believe Wednesday was part of the same production.

I also find it hard to believe I was watching the same actor play Mack Sennett. James Stevens frankly put my words to shame; all of a sudden he was big, bold and confident, throwing the emotion he needed into every line and being more than the monomaniac Mack is supposed to be. I am not being disingenuous when I say I was astounded; and maybe a little bit red faced about the fact that at least some of it was one almighty middle finger to doubters like me. Again, I’ve never seen a performance turn around so hard and so fast.

The reason I’m compelled to write this, by the way, is not in the slightest bit to apologise. My first review was still positive – it was still three stars – but it suffered because you were clearly unready. I’m writing it because the way you turned it around was utterly remarkable. As your friend, as a critic, as a fellow musical lover and so on, I wanted you guys to knock my socks off the way I knew you could. And you did – and you obviously loved doing it!

Of course the flaws were still there, but they didn’t matter as much. They were all to do with the script rather than your performance.

So congratulations to all of you. You smashed it.

4 Stars.

Letter To An Ex Lover

Fiction

Dear M,

If one day I came back to my house and found a letter under my door from you, I would be extremely surprised. There are two reasons why: the first is because I don’t think you would remember who I am; and the second because I imagine that’s the kind of thing you would only do if you were in love with someone.

And I’m sure that these are the two things that surprise you about this letter. I’m probably no more than the latest memory to you by now, or like when you’re waiting for paint to dry in a new house and there’s still one spot that smells wet after all the rest is done. Sooner or later it will all have blended into one colour. But nonetheless, I wanted to write something to you anyway; or not necessarily to you, but about you. I don’t know if you’ll ever read this, and if you do it might be a long time in the future – and if that happens, then I hope by then you are better than you are now, and able to understand why I might have written this.

It’s been a few months now since the last time we saw each other, and time has been moving strangely with every day that’s passed. Sometimes it’s fast and I don’t notice it because the vista of work, friends and distractions is as active as passion; sometimes, at my desk, at night and through the day, it passes slowly because it’s intertwined with thoughts of you. You slow time down. Despite my strength, I’ve been thinking about you a lot recently. I don’t want to – I vigorously, virulently don’t want to – but control seems to have left me and I’m at the mercy of my thoughts.

I think you might not remember the night we met. I wondered who the hell you were. What I remember is there was a blank screen around me, and you came spinning out of it like a drunk whirlwind, and I found it incredibly funny; hence why we were laughing when we first kissed. I hadn’t the faintest idea who you were, and you certainly couldn’t have known who I was; there was the lost wave of a hand reaching out from the darkness, somewhere in between the flashing lights and sounds, and I came over to ask if I knew who you were. The rest is the sort of thing that ought to be thrown to the dustbin of history. But, still, it was very funny – although you and I could both have been anyone.

I have to confess that I didn’t know your name until the next morning, which is quite something given that we were lying awake in your bed from 7am til 1. It took until I met your housemates later to finally figure it out – I wasn’t exactly about to ask you what your name was after waking up with you. Our meeting was such a clash of drunken idiocy and hilarity that trivialities like names just didn’t need to matter. And, to be honest, I didn’t need to know who you were; I took a thrill out of watching this anonymous girl lie naked next to me and laugh at all the things I found funny, go wherever the conversation wanted to go, and tell me whatever she wanted without particularly seeming to care. Your name was just a useful prefix I could use to describe the phenomenon that was this girl – it was a symbol that was hilariously divorced from the reality. Meeting you felt a lot like I had just found a crystal in a great block of stone; a place where no crystal ought to have been found.

I of course did all those idiotic things that men do: I asked myself all the selfish questions about what you might mean to me, whether we might end in a relationship, whether you would meet my parents, fall in love, and whether this sudden, erratic image of us sitting under a torn canvas dusk sky would ever come true. My mind asked the question about whether you would make me better than I am by loving me, and I was happy to let it ask that question because it was fun. Aged twenty-two, lying in the bed of a beautiful girl I had just met, there was no reason why I should have stopped myself. That at least is what most people would tell themselves, and as I keep realising, I was happy to be most people because the narrative is so tempting.

It was all such a spin of reality that I took it entirely in my stride when you told me you had once tried to kill yourself. You must have looked for a way to mention it, and you found it. The truth is I was so overcome by my own masculinity that this sort of thing seemed to weave itself into the story as ‘the complication’, another root in the founding of this fantastic new thing. You flicked it into the conversation like drips of water, and I treated it just as trivially. ‘I get it,’ I thought, ‘she has depression.’ And then, inevitably: ‘Don’t get involved.’

I want to stop writing now – but I won’t. All I’m thinking about is your hand fitted like a charm on my neck, which is where you put it after I turned away to try and fall asleep again, and failed.

Your housemate in the kitchen gave me a ‘good morning’ I gave back to her, before she dropped her phone on the floor. When she looked up again she threw a sniggerish look at you, but you’d already turned away. You didn’t connect; and that for me is what it was about you.

You know I realised precisely what you were very, very quickly. I could sum it up in a handful of words. You are one of those unfortunate people who was born, started growing up, and didn’t know what to do about it. You’re an abstract noun, a walking overdose, a single deceit of indecent fantasies; you are one of life’s sufferers, who clings desperately to everything they possibly can and receives less and less of the world’s charms with every thing that slips out of their grasp; you’re a dying beauty, but one who only cares about the dying, and forgets about the beauty.

When we were lying in bed I was thinking whatever the hell a twenty-two year old man is supposed to think. You, however, were staring as if your youth was drifting up through the ceiling, and out of reach.

The next three weeks were an ungodly hurricane that visit me like a sudden hammer at all times of day and night. The intensity and vivacity of it were outright terrifying, but it was like a drug that scares you on the way to a high; and if I wanted to top myself, I knew exactly where to find you.

I’ve managed to stop reconstructing the order of events and the way in which they happened now, I’m glad to say. But not for a minute does that mean they are gone from my memory. I remember in painful, outstanding detail things like what you were wearing outside that pub, the kick of your mind darting about in the kitchen, the precise way you looked at me when you invited me through your door, and all the normal sort of things that haunt a mind that’s been detached from its obsession. It’s all big and it’s all small, but, Goddamn it, M, it’s all you!

The walking back to yours in the early hours, my reading you a story in my room, the story we made up about the man in Brazil, the delight of a blue winter sky, your putting your hand on mine when I didn’t expect it, and the glances I had to make when I caught your face from a distance and was alarmed at how stunning it looked. All these are the normal things I try to keep out until the energy runs out and all I can do is indulge completely in their poison.

And then there was the meeting your parents, with whom I fell instantly in love, and the books we haphazardly exchanged, and the fact I was in your family home and peering like a stranger into the world that you really inhabit, and into which I do not fit. That visit was a dip in the abstract. I realised then I was somewhere beyond the rabbit hole.

At some God-forbidden railway station the day before New Year’s Eve, I called one of my loveliest friends and told them I was worried I was about to fall in love with something very, very bad. I’d realised it by then; all the necessary signs had been seen and the panic had risen adequately enough. It was one of those moments where the creeping feeling had ceased to creep and had instead grasped your heart, and you’d just realised the blood had stopped circulating.

It frustrates me that, again and again, I find myself terrified of the person I might be falling in love with. I’m like a bowling pin that always falls down the same gutter, always attracting sirens like you: and it frustrates me that I realised it so early and yet still allowed it to happen. It was in the way you didn’t take a real interest in me, how you never asked what my family was like or endeavoured to meet my friends, never asked any of the searching questions I was so inclined to ask you. Of course you knew how to ask questions like what I want to do in the future, the sort that create a bridge beyond a superficial kind of understanding that you then failed to cross. It was in the way you’d fly to me from the other side of the street, your eyes intensely on fire and your whole body showering itself on my delight, all your attention thrown catastrophically at one thing, and then in the next moment thrown in entirely the other direction. That is why men become obsessed with you: because you concentrate on them as if they are the only thing in the world you could possibly ever want, then in a split second you’re gone, throwing your love at someone else. You incite jealousy and you know it.

‘Complicated’ is something you believe yourself to be rather than what you are. In reality you are devastatingly simple. You are a weather vane that is spinning so hard it will come off its hinges. I, however, am the weather vane that always points North, no matter which way the wind is blowing.

How misogynistic of me to detail the pains of your femininity this way. But I’m writing it out because my heart can’t keep beating at half power; and you of all people ought to know what it feels like to be half alive.

It’s all over now anyway. The silent might of time has seen to that. And as much as I might wish something different had happened, the universe has played us out, and we’re both in different places now.

And you start to know it’s over when suddenly there is only the empty street before you, full of people, but empty of the one person who matters. That’s what heartbreak feels like: like all the lovely things of the world have broken away from their rightful places and focussed themselves on one person. Even the most gorgeous friendship seems to ebb slowly next to the flood that you seemed to bring. The weeks after it ended were hell.

And what really bothered me was how you feared the future, your terror of getting old and dying. It’s a fear I share, you know, not that you ever heard me say it. The difference is that I know the way out.

I have this vision, sometimes, when I’m falling asleep: I can imagine your face, handsome and impassive, peering out of some future crowd and seeing me, and, just for a brief second, you think – ‘Did I make a mistake?’ Then the mind gives way and the all the memories of what we did cascade like a river through you, and in an instant you think: ‘No.’

And that’s as it is. I can imagine your future, and I want no part in it.

Go back to the city, find a boyfriend; throw yourself through all sorts of orgastic delights, every manner of sexual experience under the sun; make men and women seethe with passion for your sex; get a career, have children, resent the comfortable life you’ve given them; stare at the same moon every night and wonder if you ever saw it differently; go to the seaside and start to feel the cocoon suffocate. Because it will start to suffocate. You can already feel it, brushing on the outermost edges of your skin; you’ve already felt the panic, the depressive slam; you’ve already tried to kill yourself.

And the real tragedy here is that no one ever taught you, nor anyone else, how to love.

Real love is when you have love to give yourself. Once you have that – once you’ve silenced the little spot of panic – once the depressive slam has been cleaned from the heavy parts of your head – then you can become what you really are. Until that happens the cocoon you find yourself in will continue to strangle you, and you can’t rely on it to stop.

I’ve deleted all your texts because they keep asking me to remember. Your books are gone, and good riddance. The only thing left is to strip off the wallpaper of memory; I want nothing but an empty room there, at the end of one story and ready for the next to begin.

It might seem that experiences like you happen for a reason, but they don’t. It’s all in the gorgeous swirl, the beating and parting of past and future, swimming like danger all over the world; and no matter how much it seems to push forwards, it always comes back; all of it, always, forever, leading back to you.

I’m sorry I wrote this. I love you.

         X

Hugh Kip Nimbly Ducks Pub Scrap

Satirical column for ‘The Whip’, December 2016

Sometimes, my fellow patriots, a man’s undying love for his country gets in the way of the most quotidian of quotes. Just the other day I was fulfilling my quota of Friday night pints in my local watering hole (pub), when the barmaid came over to me and my fellow patriot Dennis De St-Denis (General Secretary of the UKIP Gentleman’s Parlour) and enquired as to whether we should enjoy another.

‘As long as it’s brewed in Blighty!’ piped Dennis, at which point we all laughed and the barmaid brought him another pint of Amstel.

I, on the other hand, was feeling utterly fatigued from a tough day of canvassing (though I’m glad to report that the UKIP canvas telling illegal migrants not to contribute to our economy is now up and flapping beside the North Circular). I had been on the soft alcohol all evening, and it was starting to play with my usually astute head. My dear patriots, it is with great shame that I admit that Hugh Kip, for the first time in his long beer career, let alcohol get the worst of him.

‘I’ll have a soft Brexit please,’ I said.

The watering hole (pub) fell silent. Everyone was staring at me. Even old Fred, famously shocked by nothing since the first boat of Jamaicans arrived in 1948, was open-mouthed like someone had just said ‘Diwali’. The silence was as eery as the Muslim ghettos in Birmingham reported by Fox News.

I suddenly realised the gaffe I’d just gaffed, and knew I’d have to face saving face.

‘Only joking!’ I cried. ‘I’ll have a pint of London Pride, and a full withdrawal from the EU Customs Union!’

The pub (watering hole) roared with approval.

‘Free Guinness for everyone!’ announced the barmaid in celebration, ‘While we can still get it over the border!’

I laughed and told her to get a longer skirt otherwise people will think she’s Romanian.

As you can see, my fellow patriots, it’s never a quiet day in the UKIP ranks. Nevertheless, here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas, with lots of British-sourced Christmas pud and an extra serving of Christian backlash on top!

Hugh Kip

UKIP Media Attention Skyrockets

Satirical column for ‘The Whip’, November 2016

My fellow patriots, it’s finally happened! In a true turn up for the proverbial books, UKIP will have some rudimentary media coverage!

This is totally unprecedented. The liberal elite rulers of this now great nation have never given We The People (WTP) a voice, even though a recent survey found that a statistical group of actual people support UKIP. It is about time we stuck up for The Little Guy (TLG), because We Want Our Country Back (WWOCB)!

Now let’s be absolutely clear about this. UKIP has never been represented in the media because the metropolitan liberal educated cosmopolitan sneering elite Establishment Neapolitan avocado hug-a-Hungarian-and-a-frappucino types have never given us a voice. UKIP has never been properly represented in the media. Nigel Farage makes this point every week in his columns for the Express and the Independent, and the last 30 times he’s been on Question Time David Dimbleby has picked questions from people biased against UKIP. It’s classic BBC libtard prejudice. There’s even a report that they pack Question Time audiences full of lefties (I’ll link you it when it gets made).

It’s about time the metrolites heard the voice of TLG (The Little Guy). It’s about time that we had some Real Facts (RF) and Myth Busting (MB) in our national debate, rather than the sneering sneers of BBC sneerers who won’t even let UKIP supporters into Broadcasting House.

Just last week, for example, I was having a coffee in one of the Broadcasting House kitchens, when a well-known BBC journalist walked in. I immediately gave him some RF: I said a point he’d made on immigration last night was wrong, and informed him that immigrants actually drain our economy by claiming benefits rather than working. Just like all the cosmoliberals, this man was so prejudiced that he gave me a report saying immigrants make a net contribution to the economy – and he had the cheek to prove it with facts!

I mean, you can prove anything with facts, can’t you?

This is the problem, my dear UKIP-ites: for too long this country has been ruled by people with no grip of reality. They simply don’t understand the pressure immigrant families put on our pavements if they’re overweight – (which all of them are. It’s FAcT). They simply don’t understand that our primary schools are full of Eastern Europeans, that our stomachs are full of Polish mystery meat, and that the country is full of immigrants!

Is it a coincidence that ‘liberal’ almost rhymes with ‘evil’? I think not.

And just to be clear, I’m not a racist. As if. One of my best mates is a Pole. He cleans my house every Tuesday. I think his name is Frederic.

So here’s to us, my fellow patriots, as finally UKIP gets its chance to voice its opinions in the media! Check in every week for some RF and MB, because WWOCB 4 TLG!

Hugh Kip

 

 

Political Selfishness And Why We Should All Be Feminists

Calling yourself a feminist if you’re not a woman seems odd to some people. It can seem even more odd if you’re male, white, straight and middle class, the only members of society not to fit into an identity movement and therefore the ones least expected to support an identity movement. To the minds of some, calling yourself a feminist if you’re not a woman is a denial of truth, because to them ‘self’ (or ‘selfishness’) and ‘other’ are two entirely separate things that do not correlate. What other people do has nothing to do with you, and vice versa. Therefore to claim that you care for other people, such as through the lens of feminism, is a denial of your inherent selfishness, which neither cares for nor so much as coincides with others.

We live in an age of selfish individualism, made to believe that ‘vice is a virtue’ and sheer egotism is the only ‘genuine’ way to live. It might therefore seem logical for the dominant male class to dislike feminism, because we’ve had it drilled into us that human beings want nothing but power for themselves. We have been told that helping others is not only wrong, but unnatural: hence the prevalence of Richard Dawkins’ ‘The Selfish Gene’ in modern political discourse.

So why should I, as a member of the straight, white, male middle classes, call myself a feminist? Is it because I’m an egotist wanting to pose as a social justice warrior? Or because I can’t see that all feminists are man-hating fanatics? Or is it because I am genuinely selfless?

The answer, funnily enough, is the precise opposite of all these things. I am a feminist because I am selfish.

What we do not acknowledge in political conversations about human nature is that there are two kinds of selfishness: selfish selfishness and selfless selfishness. The first kind tends to attract people who believe that human behaviour is determined mostly from birth – biological determinists, those who favour nature over nurture. It results naturally from believing that the environment we’re born into is largely irrelevant, because human nature is innate and our behaviour unchangeable. As such it makes sense to only be concerned with yourself because other people cannot be altered by what goes on around them. ‘Best just to leave them alone – trying to help will only weigh you down.’

Selfless selfishness, on the other hand, is the kind that understands that human relationships are inter-relational; that is to say that the way one person behaves to another will condition the way they behave back. If, for example, I am dismissive and condescending to you all the time, you will probably get angry at me and we will have a bad relationship. But if I am always considerate, making sure that you are as happy as you can be, chances are you will do the same back to me and we will both benefit from the relationship.

This is the basis for my being a feminist: that what I am involves what you are. If I look after you then you will look after me, because my happiness is your happiness.

It is plainly obvious that we live in a world in which women and minorities are second-class citizens while the white, male middle classes work a system that was designed for them. Most women experience some form of harassment on a weekly or often daily basis; they often find themselves being talked over, being paid less and, at the extreme end, being victim-blamed for crimes like rape. They face a media onslaught about how they ought to look, how they ought to behave and how they ought to treat men. Mentalhealth.org says women are more likely than men to have a mental health disorder, and twice as likely to suffer from anxiety.

And the thing is of course that men suffer from many of the same things. Body image issues, mental illness, sexual violence and the immense pressure to ‘man up’ and not address your emotions are all linked to how we see ourselves as men. And these gender problems are not separate. Masculinity and femininity are two halves of the same whole: if you want to change one then you have to change both.

So on the emotional level we can see that it makes sense for you to help out the other gender. But, vitally, it also makes sense on the economic and political level.

In a report entitled ‘Women, Work and the Economy’, the IMF pointed out that gender inequality in the workplace is losing countries money. It claims that closing gender gaps in the labour market would earn the USA an annual extra 5% in GDP, the UAE another 12%, and Egypt a whole 34%. Business In The Community reports that companies in all sectors with the most women on their boards significantly and consistently outperform those with fewer. Similarly, the International Finance Corporation found that better employment for women can contribute to increased productivity and profitability. From there, with more income and financial independence, women can also increase household spending.

And, on the political level, having more women in government will not only come closer to achieving actual representative democracy, but female politicians often prioritise issues that can be overlooked by their male counterparts, which in turn can lead to broader political debate.

The evidence that it is in all our interests to invest in women, the poor and ethnic, sexual and cultural minorities is extremely compelling. It is stone-cold logical for men to be invested in women’s issues because it will solve our problems as well, and exactly the same goes for class, sexuality, race and every other social category under the sun. They all carry their own problems and those problems affect all of us; therefore, if we want to solve our own problems, we must help others solve theirs.

If we want to live in a more efficient, productive and happy society, we need to invest both financially and emotionally in one another. We do not do that through inequality and self-interest; we do it through equality and giving to other people.

The principle is clear: the more you give away, the more you receive.

‘A View From The Bridge’ Review @ UBU Winston Theatre

The West has a fear of immigrants; so how do we retell the stories that tell us how moving away from home can kill?

In the same week in which we once again saw American xenophobia write itself into law, Arthur Miller’s hard and fast immigrant tragedy came to life in Bristol’s Winston Theatre. But, rather like how prejudice always appears to be in a different guise but is fundamentally always the same, this latest retelling of the classic tale has been made into a terrific spectacle whilst barely wavering from what Miller called the “one long line of explosion” that is the plot.

Now it is no easy thing to make a spectacle of a ‘sitting room’ drama, so it is true testament to director Sam Jones that this production achieved it. At the beginning of Act I the audience are introduced to a set in which the centre-stage and backdrop are white and the wings and downstage are black, with the kitchen table, chairs and even vinyl player all a stark white. The theme of colour coordination becomes apparent with the white-overalled Eddie, the grey-skirted Bea and the pink-skirted Catherine, and enacted out of this is a delightful visual metaphor that slowly but surely begins to first reflect and then dominate the plot: with every moment a character displays anger a piece of set is either torn up or coated in paint, leaving a visual scar to remind us of the emotional denigration occurring before our eyes. As symbolically as you like, dutiful housewife Bea attempts to clean up in the quieter scenes, but as Eddie’s psychological condition disintegrates so too does the set – no more so than in a gorgeously gripping sequence in which the chorus, who appear largely to represent Eddie’s mental state, tear off the backdrop to reveal a wall graffitied with words like ‘snitch, coward, rat’. Together with the visual symbolism are the eery sound effects that accompany light changes, the two of which go to create an aesthetic the Winston audience could gorge their senses with.

Ned Costello puts in a marvellous and unforgiving performance as Eddie Carbone; like a hammer that disintegrates with every blow, Costello starts the play thumping about the stage and only very gently and very skilfully begins to let Eddie’s inner vulnerability seep through. Alice Hoskyns as Bea and Phoebe Campbell as Catherine put in similarly assured and sensitive performances, Hoskyns shivering with delight when Catherine lands a job as a stenographer and Campbell achieving that adolescent tempestuousness in her relationship with Rudolpho. Special mention must go to Jonas Moore and Tullio Campanale, who, as Rudolpho and Marco respectively, light up the script with their simultaneously hilarious and conflicted characters. Moore in particular achieves a sweet obliviousness that contrasts perfectly with the blunt jealousy of Costello’s Eddie, the indelicate nature of which is in turn contrasted with the sage Alfieri, played with an air of nostalgia by the quietly authoritative Nathan Sames.

DramSoc’s ‘A View From the Bridge’ is undoubtedly excellent: it is visually fascinating and it threads the psychological needle so subtly that you only realise how absorbed you are when you find yourself jumping out your seat. The only clear problem is that it sometimes fails to punch when it needs to; the second half in particular suffers from strange periods of slowness when really the pace ought to be rising exponentially. Other than that and perhaps the odd moment of actors lacking confidence, this is a superb production that deserves to be seen.

4 ****

Review From The Bridge

When writing the play, Arthur Miller made excessively clear that ‘A View From The Bridge’ was not about one actor, and especially not one that wasn’t even in the script. So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that the audience at the Winston Theatre entered to find an enormous painting of Guy Woods’s face on the set.

Obviously one cannot draw conclusions simply from the way a stage looks – that would be like judging a book by its cover, which is the sort of thing only a person who can’t read would do. But the shock rose to fever pitch when it became apparent that this entire play was about Guy Woods.

Now not many people really knew who Guy Woods was, but we were told through an acting masterclass in Alfieri’s opening speech that he is a first year Drama student who apparently didn’t want to be in the play but is entrapped in a complicated situation involving an animal trafficking cartel in Central Asia and thus was forced to be a member of the chorus. Chorus members are typically known for not having any lines and generally being more forgettable than what I had for lunch yesterday (couscous), so we could not believe our ears when it turned out that every single sentence had been altered to be about Guy Woods. Because this production was so obscenely about Guy Woods, I’m going to write the rest of this review based on what Guy Woods didn’t do.

Ned Costello’s acting, it has to be said, was superb – no thanks to Guy Woods. He was like a great blunt instrument striding about the stage, saying it like it is and not taking no for answer – unlike Guy Woods. Particularly excellent was the moment in which he picked up the chair – which I doubt Guy Woods could have done. Alice Hoskyns was also outstanding as Bea, as she wore a grey skirt – again not because of Guy Woods. Also the music was great. Special mention must go to Jonas Moore and Tullio Campanale as Rudolpho and Marco respectively – with absolutely no thanks to Guy Woods. They had a magnificent brotherly relationship – which is the kind of thing I imagine Guy Woods dreams of doing but probably can’t unless he’s actually with his brother. And Phoebe Campbell was great.

Also good was the set, which was not designed by Guy Woods. The most poignant moment of the play occurred when Eddie died and the backdrop fell on him and all the cast – which might have been an accident, in which case it was probably the fault of Guy Woods. It was a mark of an extra special production that the audience actually cheered when a bucket of paint was thrown over the front row – admittedly by Guy Woods, but I’m trying to forget about it.

This was a very good show, but not because of Guy Woods.

5 *****