The stage is opened up with seating on either side like the set of a game show and the actors sell buttons and lux upgrade seating before the show begins. Addicted to drugs and intimacy, Mark (Sam Spruell) wants to get clean and leaves triggers Lulu (Sophie Wu) and Robbie (Alex Arnold) to fend for themselves. The ensemble engage with the audience throughout, which works brilliantly for the scenes with Brian (Ashley McGuire), a burgeoning businessman.
McGuire stands out as the captivating aspiring demagogue who treats the audience like TED talk disciples. David Moorst as Gary is also strong, bouncing about the stage in hot pink pants and executing Ravenhill’s dark humour with a brash earnestness.
While the green screen vignettes and karaoke numbers are entertaining and adventurous, they are also occasionally distracting. As they propel the play to its disturbing conclusions, there’s a lack of intimacy in the cavernous space and a lack of focus on the characters themselves. The climax is still shocking but the full extent of the character’s alienation remains underdeveloped.
Nevertheless, Shopping and F***ing at the Lyric offers some brilliant visual stimulation, black humour, and some strong performances. Ultimately, it is a welcome opportunity to see Ravenhill’s troubling and still deeply relevant first full-length play.
|What||Shopping and Fucking, Lyric Hammersmith|
|Where||Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, King St, W6 0QL | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Hammersmith (Piccadilly and District lines) (underground)|
07 Oct 16 – 05 Nov 16, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Price||£15 – £35|
|Website||Click here for more info and to book|