Anarchic Show Is A Bit Of A Mess

Jubilee, Lyric Hammersmith ★★☆☆☆

Neil Dowden
By Neil Dowden Last edited 6 months ago

Looks like this article is a bit old. Be aware that information may have changed since it was published.

Anarchic Show Is A Bit Of A Mess Jubilee, Lyric Hammersmith 2
Photo: Tristram Kenton

Chris Goode's "remix" of Jubilee — Derek Jarman's iconic art-punk film of 1978 — is a scattergun theatrical update that attempts to take in social and political changes of the last four decades. The surreal, queerly subversive imagery of the movie has been replaced by something much more raucous and in your face, without finding any focus for its anti-establishment rhetoric.

The original scenario is still here: Queen Elizabeth I fast-forwards into the future of her kingdom under the reign of her namesake, to witness a nihilistic girl gang on a murderous rampage. Punk's anarchic energy is released, with its do-want-you-want-to-do attitude and non-normative gender/sexuality identities. But this personal lifestyle freedom isn't convincingly linked to contemporary politics in what is a state-of-the-nation show about a deeply divided Britain.

Staged in the semi-round with performers interacting with the audience, the show revels in its meta-theatricality including referring to empty seats where people have not returned after the interval. It has fun with role-playing and provoking a reaction, including full frontal nudity and simulated sex, but it all seems a bit aimless. Maybe people left due to boredom rather than offence.

Chloe Lamford's sprawling design features a graffiti-daubed squat with disturbingly positioned mannequins. Travis Alabanza is an engaging, ad-libbing Amyl Nitrate, whose alternative history lessons turn into an apocalyptic rant. And Toyah Willcox has a ball playing Queen Bess, 40 years on from appearing in the original film — time-travelling indeed.

Jubilee, Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, King St, W6 0QL, £15-35. Until 10 March.

Last Updated 22 February 2018