Philobiblon: Returning to 1982

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Returning to 1982

Plastic Zion, which has just opened at the White Bear, was written in 1982, and is very much an artefact of that time, featuring a representative subset of the angry, disillusioned youth of Thatcher's Britain, and their music.

At the centre of this discordant little group, transplanted by some unfortunate attempt to experience kulture to an abandoned cafe in backwoods France, is the working-class lad made rock star hero Clem (Nigel Croft-Adams) and his middle-class rebel, self-mutilating, self-hating, girlfriend Josephine (Caroline O'Hara).

Their "groupie" pack - much depleted from Clem's glory days - consists of his longterm and faithful schoolfriend Yak (Ben Richardson), who's been unable to imagine a life of his own, and two spongers, the transvestite Carly (Tim McFarland), a petulant, camp imp, and the dim but assertive Dagmar (Minouche Kaftel).

Over the course of a moderately drunken evening they squabble, make-up, and act out all of their anxieties and problems. Yet at the end of it, with the exception of one, perhaps shattering, revelation, they are at the same point as they started.

This is a play that is both better, and worse, than that description suggests. A sketch of the characters suggest stereotypes, and yet the playwright, Chris Ward, makes each of these come alive as real, suffering human beings. READ MORE


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