Review: The Wolf From The Door, by Rory Mullarkey – at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs

Sophie Russell, Calvin Demba as Leo, Anna Chancellor as Catherine, Pearce Quigley. Photo Stephen Cummiskey

Sophie Russell, Calvin Demba as Leo, Anna Chancellor as Catherine, Pearce Quigley. Photo Stephen Cummiskey

Cards on the table and without ambiguity, I didn’t like Rory Mullarkey’s The Wolf From the Door. It’s been a while since I disliked a play in such comprehensive manner.  It wasn’t the lack of promise, quite the opposite. It starts with an idea that has meat on its bones: is apathy just a smoke screen? What will it take for middle england to take (decisive, surprising, violent) action? And would anyone notice if we were there already?

Except the play doesn’t go far: it imagines a situation where this would happen. Posh Lady Catherine picks up young drifter Leo on a train station. Any other woman would do it for sex but not her. She wants to anoint him ruler of the land. Everything is ready, the people are waiting. And blood will be spilt. Among the allotments and the supermarket alleys. Not so much Carnation Revolution but Revolution and flower arrangements. Continue reading

Review: The Get Out, conceived by Robin French and Anthony Neilson, at the Royal Court Upstairs

Imogen Doel, Jonjo O'Neill (as James Bond) and Nathaniel Martello-White. Photo Alastair Muir

Imogen Doel, Jonjo O’Neill (as James Bond) and Nathaniel Martello-White. Photo Alastair Muir

It’s been more than two weeks since I saw The Get Out at the Royal Court and considering the production had only three performances and hardly a week of rehearsal, it’s safe to say it took me longer to write the review than it took for the production to come together. No matter. Don’t hold my slowness against it. Because The Get Out punched way above its weight and it deserves a write-up (even if it is by a slow writer like me).

At the Royal Court website, it says this is a “new late-night revue style show conceived by writers Robin French and Anthony Neilson”. Submissions were from Royal Court staff of any capacity, the performance was put together in record time. None of these gives a sense for the actual result, that feels like a leaner, punchier version of Mr Burns. (As much as I love Mr Burns, a leaner version of it is a very attractive proposition.)

Surreal and with pop culture at its heart, The Get Out exists in a world of apocalyptic ruins, even if it’s only the subtext of the narrative. The set is a run down hollowed-out theatre, the actors are dressed in black tie and formal gowns but the clothes are torn and dirty and with a touch of vampire chic. Among the ruins, snapshots of stories play out,  screamingly funny Continue reading