Manwatching by An Anonymous Woman, Royal Court Upstairs, 13 May 2017

The conceit of this short play is that it is written by an anonymous woman and performed by an unprepared man. A different man each night (otherwise he’d be prepared, wouldn’t he?). The play is primarily about female masturbation and sexual fantasies.

It is all explained on the Royal Court Website – here. The men scheduled to perform the piece at the Royal Court are all comedians. We got a rather good comedian named Liam Williams.

We liked the idea/conceit of this piece more than we liked the piece when we saw it. I don’t think that had anything to do with our comedian; I think there is only so much humour and thoughtfulness that can emerge from the subject.

We laughed a few times. Some of the jokes were genuinely funny; some a bit tame. A couple of women walked out during the show, which I found odd, as the blurb left us with no uncertainty as to the style of content to expect.

There is an “I am Spartacus” device at the end which fell a bit flat, mostly because the middle-aged women who had envelopes with instructions/suggestions couldn’t read same without their glasses, despite it being rather obvious what they were being asked to do. I felt like standing up myself and saying “I am the anonymous woman”, but thought I might be accused of male appropriation.

It was fun but not funtastic. I enjoyed it a bit more than Janie did, although the few reviews so far indicate that women seem to like it more than men:

Janie shared Dominic Cavendish’s scepticism about whether the men really are reading the play entirely unseen. I’m not sure I share the scepticism and I’m really not sure the point matters as much as Anonymous Woman says it does. I don’t think “spontaneous comedians” are being genuinely spontaneous very often, but what do I know?

As for Anonymous Woman’s identity, Andrzej Lukowski has a wild guess at Penelope Skinner. I think it must be one of the Royal Court’s regular female playwrights, possibly Skinner but my guess would be either Lucy Kirkwood or Lucy Prebble.

A short, fun evening out, which we rounded off with a smoked salmon and salad supper at home; very nice.

 

The Acid Test by Anya Reiss, Royal Court Upstairs, 28 May 2011

We’d really enjoyed Spur Of The Moment by the ridiculously young and talented Anya Reiss the year before:

Spur Of The Moment by Anya Reiss, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 3 August 2010

…so were keen to give her another try.

I don’t think this one worked quite as well for us. Yes, there was still sparkling wit to the dialogue. But basically this play was yet another drunken gathering descending into chaos comedy.

Excellent production qualities with top notch cast and creatives, as we expect from the Royal Court, but not top drawer Royal Court to our taste.

Here is a link to the Royal Court resource on this play/production.

This search term should find you reviews and other resources on this play/production.

We’re still hoping to see Anya Reiss progress to greater things on the stage. Plenty of time; she was still only 18 for this one.

Faces In The Crowd by Leo Butler, Royal Court Upstairs, 25 October 2008

This was a very memorable, very intimate play.

The set was effectively a small studio apartment which we, the tiny audience, was observing from above. You really almost felt you were in the apartment with the couple. And the couple were discussing very intimate stuff.

Official London Theatre maintains a basic resource on this production – click here.

Janie and I took Charlie (Lavender) with us to this one, which I think she enjoyed very much. We’re struggling to remember what we did for grub on this occasion; we think we possibly ate at the Royal Court itself.

Definitely more plus than minus for us.