Writer: Linda McLean
Director: Nicholas Bone
Music: Kim Moore
Reviewer: Charles Tyrer
The Public Reviews Rating:
The real tragedies in life, the ones that comatose us, disable not only our bodies but our minds are so overwhelming they often result in our perpetual silence. The effort to discuss them is futile; how can we ever communicate this pain with another? How can we ever relieve the aching within? Instead we choose dishonesty within ourselves; compartmentalising the journey that is life becomes the favoured coping mechanism. One way to prevent this and allow existentialist prowess is through experiencing art. It’s rare for artists to have the ability of releasing imprisoned emotions; those that do have always been heralded as genius.
The form, poetry and universality of themes within Linda McLean’s Sex & God, mark this piece of new writing out as rare. In following the lives of four women who exist within a range of remits from Edwardian to contemporary England, their life’s span contrasting positions, ages and social classes yet all speak of the hardships and pain of human existence. The juxtaposition of separate stories performed in a united way speaks the truth of lives lived and living. McLean’s range of characters from modern day university student to Edwardian kitchen maid demonstrate some sorrows exist within the remnants of one’s social and economic environment and others transcend time, they will perpetuate so long as humans do. On their journey of personal liberation these characters remind us that hostility and unhappiness can be challenged. The piece speaks of being the perpetrator of our own destinies, and challenges if that can ever be a bad thing.
Whilst serving as a phenomenal social and political commentary, the pieces interwoven narratives do become hard to keep up with. Primarily because of its rapid pace and snappy dialogue, elements of character’s stories become distorted. In what feels like a very quick hour much is explored. Perhaps this is because Sex & God achieves what so many productions could only dream of doing. It gets a sharp hook and grabs you from the word go. Yes, it’s hard to keep up and its honesty is difficult to bear, but the piece’s resounding beauty ensures you can never escape its spell. After a journey of forced introspection one seems to have had a cathartic experience. Upon leaving the theatre there’s a vibe; if this new writing hasn’t already been heralded as genius it very soon will be.
Runs until 13th October, then touring