Pornography is potentially a brilliant production. And, undoubtedly, it can be executed with directorial finesse as productions at Hamburg’s Deutsches Schauspielhaushave indicated. But, unfortunately, Greentheatre’s rendition of what the Edinburgh Festival described as the most ‘shocking’ play, simply did not live up to the intense scrutiny of the human psyche that the work deserved.
Under the direction of David Myles, this controversial British play by Simon Stephens offers a window into the lives of eight locals in the week prior to the London 2005 bombings. One of these individuals is responsible for this act of terrorism. Set against the events of the G8 Summit, the Live 8 Concert and the announcement that London would host the Olympic Games, Pornography is essentially an opportunity for us to be voyeurs and observe the intimate coils of dysfunctional society in all its complexity.
Dramatically we are introduced in vignette-like moments to eight different characters whose lives intersect occasionally as we move towards the impending event. The strongest performances were given by Justin Hoskingand Sonya Suares as the estranged brother and sister, while Emma Chelsey as the angst-driven teenager and Richard Neal as the rejected older professor also provide compelling performances.
However, the production is too long and the illusion of surveillance (set up by the projection screens with CCTV images) gives way to ethereal images that do little to support the continuity of the narrative. The creaky stage implores the use of some sound design to create appropriate segues and while the lighting is effective overall, there were a few too many abrupt blackouts.
As a show that does have immense potential it is hoped that the remainder of the season will be successful in delivering the apocalyptic vision that is at the heart of the text.