Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Angry, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Billy Barrett.
The Pub Corner Poets – part live band, part poetry collective and part sweaty, swearing cabaret act – courted controversy at this year’s National Student Drama Festival with Angry, and it’s easy to see why.
An all-white cast dropping racial slurs, casual homophobia and lazy sexism feels pretty indefensible, even if it is supposedly in the name of a jaded generation’s misdirected anger about the political climate that spawned it.
The form of this abrasive, interactive play by Josh Overton is commendably bold – a self-aware rock concert intercut with tales of intoxicated sex and violence – but in its tedious efforts to shock, it ends up uncomfortably reinforcing the power structures it sets out to critique, at one point comparing a woman in the audience to a porn star. The inter-cast banter feels awkwardly staged, and the rawness and unpredictability the company are after safely pre-planned.
There is something tub-thumpingly joyous about the show’s final song, Why is Everyone I Hate Still Alive?, which wishes painful deaths on George Osborne and Nigel Farage among others, but it’s a rare moment in which the show’s anger finds political coherence and humour that doesn’t punch down, amidst all its try-hard faux edginess.
Sweet Grassmarket (Venue 18) until 23 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 20 August 2015
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