NSFW

© Stephen Cummiskey

Last week we told you about the rave reviews for NSFW, the new play by Lucy Kirkwood starring Julian Barratt. So we had to go and see for ourselves what all the fuss was about!

The play starts in the offices of Doghouse magazine – a magazine for the young gentleman, where they unveil their new ‘Local Lovely’ for 2012 – Carrie, who is the girlfriend of a reader of the magazine. Aiden (Barratt), the editor, is pleased with the choice by Sam (Sacha Dharwan), the new boy at the magazine. Also there is Charlotte (Esther Smith) and Rupert (Henry Lloyd-Hughes). The characters are quickly established without being forced upon us. We find out Charlotte tells her women’s group that she is an Estate Agent rather than admit to working at Doghouse, and Rupert has a trust fund.

The second act is also set at Doghouse, where Aiden – with the aid of Charlotte – uses any means necessary to save his own skin, whatever the cost to others.

The final act takes place months later in a very different setting, that of Electra, a women’s magazine run by Miranda (Janie Dee) a very glamorous lady, whose attitude to work is very similar to her counterpart at Doghouse.

 © Stephen Cummiskey

The play is quite short, only 90 minutes with no interval, but this is not a bad thing, the story is told perfectly, with no need for extra embellishment.  The entire cast is extremely talented and each fits their role perfectly. Mr Barratt plays the outwardly kindly Aiden brilliantly, very understated, but the underlying nastiness shows through.

There are lots of funny moments particularly those involving Rupert’s ‘Man Challenges’ and the equivalent at Electra, and Sam’s long winded speeches had the audience giggling as they went on, and on!

Although this is a comedy, there is a strong message in this play about attitudes to women in the media and in general, and how the fight for women’s rights is still far from over for many women.

For a preview of the play follow this nice link, where you can also book tickets. If you really want to see the play you need to get your tickets quickly, as most performances are sold out or have limited availability.

NSFW runs until 24th November at the Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, London.

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