Tag Archives: Michael Longhurst

“The Art of Dying” by Nick Payne

at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs

A better name for Nick Payne’s new solo show might be The Art of Lying. Throughout the monologue, the three stories Payne tells consider the various ways we lie to one another as life comes to an end. It’s a short, simple piece, and though it doesn’t contain the complexity of some of his earlier work, Payne delivers three affecting and heartfelt stories about the fraught relationship between death and truth.

Sat on a yellow plastic chair in front of a makeshift skyline of blue-lit medicine bottles, Payne begins the piece with the story of Maggie Noonan from Milton Keynes, who contracts a degenerative disease which forces her to split up with her partner and move into a home. Continue reading “The Art of Dying” by Nick Payne

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“The World of Extreme Happiness” by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig

at The Shed, Monday 30th September 2013

*Originally written for Exeunt*

The fact Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s The World of Extreme Happiness comes so soon after Lucy Kirkwood’s Chimerica is no coincidence; the growing economic power of China has forced a shift in the way those of us in the West frame our politico-cultural experience, with our complicity in its morally questionable material output becoming a debate we must collectively tackle. But though Michael Longhurst’s startling and audaciously jarring production deepens the play’s self-awareness whilst commenting on China’s contemporary situation, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that the text itself never really got to the root of the problem, interrogating the symptoms of hyper-capitalism rather than the rotten system itself.

Within the first ten minutes of the piece, Cowhig sets up a tension between rural and urban space as we see Sunny (Katie Leung) born Continue reading “The World of Extreme Happiness” by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig