Monday, 5 September 2011

Mr. and Mrs. God Join Katie Price's Entourage

Mr. and Mrs. God are scouring the earth to find their daughter, the Goddess of Love, who has fallen to the earth, straight into the entourage of Essex-based celebrity Natty. In the meantime, Natty, in her Katie Price outfits (think bubblegum-pink velour), and her continuous orgy of self-loathing (“I'm so shit” is her theme tune), is squabbling with her soul-mate Baz. Natty and Baz are at odds because they're trying “normal sex” – that is, sex without toys, games and guilt – and are finding it strangely lacking. Meantime, a homeless drifter holds the key to love and happiness in a Hermes handbag.

The play is a modern take on the deus ex machina, a theatrical device originally from Ancient Greece, often used by Shakespeare himself, in which a God-figure descends to the earth to sort out the naff problems of the plebeians. In the God of Soho, while the Goddess of Love can perhaps help Natty and Baz find love sans vibrators (though, the play doesn't quite clarify how she does this), Mr. and Mrs. God have endless problems of their own.

Mrs. God is struck by the travails of being a “celebrity wife.” She wears a bag full of her own liposuction juices at her waist. Mr. God is worried that he is no more than a voice in a mental person's head, and his daughter, meanwhile, is driven to love unavailable men. Through her caterwauling about unrequited love, to Natty and Baz's dogged endeavours to enjoy sex, and sundry potty-mouthed interludes by just about everyone in the star-studded cast, the play takes you through a raucous, though somewhat baffling, romp.

The writer Chris Hannan stubbornly claims that the play is not a satire. Meantime, critics are calling it the Marmite of theatre – you either love it or hate it. And yes, Raz Shaw's direction could be tighter, and one of two gratuitous scenes deleted. Nevertheless, this odd mix of bawdy fun (in the tradition of seventeenth-century outdoor theatre that played in similar Greek-style amphitheatres), clever references to celebrity/brand culture, and excellent music by the hairy bikers of the eclectic ska band King Porter Stomp, provides an evening of brilliant entertainment – especially if you're lucky not to be rained on, and you have a sturdy back to withstand the hard benches.
The God of Soho, Shakespeare's Globe, Till September 30, 2011

Published on London Fringe

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