WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE: Arcola Theatre
WHEN: 23/10 to 14/11
The state of tabloid journalism was tackled most recently in the National’s production of Great Britain but is done so far more vividly and successfully here.
Author Mark Jagasia is a former journalist who has worked for some of the UK’s leading newspapers and here paints a picture of terrifying editor Morris Honeyspoon (Greg Hicks, unforgettable parping a horn in news meetings for ideas he doesn’t like and sporting a crested centurion’s helmet) running a national which has led on the issue of immigration for 300 days.
Equally unforgettable is the always reliable Clare Higgins (the winner of three best actress Oliviers) playing alcoholic former war correspondent Verity Stokes. Plot-wise their newspaper The Centurion is approaching its 125th birthday, preparing for a visit from its penny-pinching foreign owner, while awaiting sales figures as it faces criticism for its immigration stance. Someone also appears to have tinkered with the day’s horoscopes.
The news meeting at the beginning of the show is particularly sharp as the show business stories are pulled apart and the immigration editor is made to stand on his chair as his frustration with the paper’s agenda begins to surface.
If the plot sounds familiar, it doesn’t go where you might expect. The tension is ratcheted-up thanks to the intimate nature of the Arcola and this is definitely one of the more interesting plays to see at the moment. This is its second run at the venue and its certainly ripe for a West End transfer.
- Tickets available here. Picture: Arcola Theatre via Facebook. Enjoyed this review? Follow author Neil Durham on Twitter @NeilDurham