Philobiblon: Luvvy laughs

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Luvvy laughs

Aspiring writers are usually told "write about what you know", and that is what first-time playwright Sam Peter Jackson has done in portraying 20-something actors coming to terms with the difficulties of their profession and personal lives. But if he is really writing about what he knows, then all of the stereotypes about self-obsession, ridiculous angst and general luvviness are also true.

These are both the strength and the weakness of his Minor Irritations, on at the White Bear Theatre in Kennington until January 8. The audience is ready to laugh at his characters, and when Jackson gives them a succession of delightful one-liners, to really laugh. But this sits rather oddly with the angst-ridden moments of quarter-life crisis that the characters are apparently suffering. Jackson has a real talent for word-play and the comic scene, but needs to lighten up and keep that mood throughout; perhaps what is needed is just a bit more growing up - something that could definitely be said of his characters.

The author plays the central figure of Minor Irritations, Ben, a "resting" actor who's working in a call centre, auditioning for a chicken burger commercial and yet to get over his ex-boyfriend, Jay (Luke Evans), who's living in New York and succeeding. Ben's best friend/fag hag is Harriet (Dulcie Lewis), who cheerfully hams up her role as an air-headed part-time air hostess and Jewish princess who arrives on stage obsessing about her recent purchase of The Big Issue. She says of her interaction with the vendor "I always want to say, 'Don't you have Vogue or Vanity Fair?" READ MORE

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