Thomas W. Hodgkinson


By Philip Ridley
Southwark Playhouse, London

Peter Cook once said that he didn’t go to the theatre for rape, sodomy and drug addiction, because he could get all that at home. This goes to the heart of whether you’ll want to seek out Philip Ridley’s latest provocation. Angry is a series of jagged, sometimes ragged monologues, performed alternately by bright young things Georgie Henley and Tyrone Huntley. Each night, they swap their allocation of roles. This makes a point about gender fluidity, which seems on trend. Yet the opening number, in which (the night I went) Henley screamed abuse at the audience, felt dated. The longer pieces worked better, giving room for Ridley’s mercurial and always energetic writing to switch moods, even genres, midstream. In Bloodshot, a snobbish adolescent recalls losing her virginity in Victoria Park. In Air, the life of a drowning refugee flashes before his eyes in strobe-lit flickers, casting light on a love affair that all too briefly made the world beautiful. So this is what it boils down to: do you like being shouted at and forced to confront your own mortality? Or do you get all that at home?