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A CurtainUp London Review
The play opens with seasoned hack and respected former war correspondent Verity Stokes (a wonderful world weary performance by Clare Higgins) defending the paper on a radio programme. Pretending that she thinks she is off air, she calls her antagonist, a stand up comedian, a shit.
As the journalists assemble for the morning news conference, where Morris uses an old fashioned car horn to guillotine any ideas which don't interest him, we meet a young reporter Joshua Moon (Ryan Wichert) and Pritti (Laura Smithers) who is on work experience at the newspaper.
Mark Jagasia doesn't miss a trick when it comes to writing a good joke. Verity talks to the ill-educated Pritti about the places she reported from, Port Stanley, Soweto, Kandahar, Sarajevo, Vukuvar, Kinshasa, Liberia and Rwanda, war zones all, and Pritti says in Essex tones, "Right but I don't want to work on the travel desk."
The plot twists and turns in ways I couldn't predict with a deep seam of dark comedy at its centre. The play is well cast with stand out performances from Clare Higgins as the survivor Verity and Greg Hicks as the unhinged editor. There is a scene from the astrologer who had predicted Armageddon in each of the solar horoscopes which has upset the wife of the proprietor and owner of the Clarion.
Mark Jagasia's word driven humour is superb and Mehmet Ergen's direction exemplary. It is so good to be able to laugh in the theatre and at the same time be thinking about real issues which dominate the gutter press and how we got to this state of affairs. Don't miss this thoroughly good evening of scathing comedy!
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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