Материал с ресурса Дневники: Люк Эванс
HARDCORE opens with Craig (Luke Evans), chiselled skin flick actor, wearing his winter coat, telling us why he’s top of his game.
The real problem
with this show is the title (writes Tim Passmore). A play about gay
porn called 'Hardcore' sounds as if it should be gritty and verité. But
Hardcore isn't. It’s fluff.
Entertaining fluff, mind. The show delivers plenty of laughs and eye-candy to its target audience. There are no women in the theatre.
The play follows four male performers through the making of a skin-flick. They're paid a paltry £200 a scene and no royalties. The film crew and the people raking in the profits aren't shown. So the show dodges the issue of exploitation, featured in films like Boogie Nights and The People Versus Larry Flynt.
Happily, the boys themselves make diverting company for the evening. Craig, a seasoned veteran of two previous films, and Martin - a wide-eyed provincial youngster - are the focus of the piece. Their characters are mostly well-drawn. Craig's toughness and Martin's charm provide the play's essential frisson - both sexual and dramatic.
The others are a bit more two-dimensional. Robert is a suited city-boy living with an unattractive older man. He comes to porn looking for some extra-curricular excitement. Kevin is an unsuccessful actor trying to pad out his woeful acting CV. He's allegedly straight, but more flaky than the combined cast of Muriel's Wedding.
The plotting unfolds at a leisurely pace, to facilitate the exploration of character. But the need for a climax in the second half produces some implausible twists.
Martin’s All About Eve switch from ingenue to hardened pro has no preparation. On the other hand the preparation for Craig’s sudden breakdown is perfunctory. The suggestion is that a gammy knee suddenly reminds Craig of his first non-cottaging sexual attraction, causing his hardened persona to unravel. This doesn't convince. Nothing before suggests that there's anything left inside him except this tough shell.
One of the show's best things is the restrained but effective treatment of sexuality. In contrast to the cockfest Up4ameet? (Oval Playhouse 2003), the cast keep their briefs on.
There's no explicit sex, although there are a couple of 'rehearsals'. The actual shoot is inventively shown with the performers isolated and facing front. A collage of thrusts, moans and thought-bites brilliantly conveys the characters' mix of nervous excitement and detachment.
Formative sex experiences are recalled through obvious simulation. This works well: it makes the sex part of the play's schematic structure. It avoids cynically trading on the 'are-they-or-aren’t-they?' shock value of Mark Ravenhill. A sex-act is invoked, the eroticism is plain, but so is what's going on within the characters.
There's pacy dialogue. The jokes amuse, if a bit predictably. The internal-flashback monologues don't succeed as well. They're too similar rhythmically - all short phrases and epigrams. The uniformity of style soon tires.
The staging could work harder to define the moments when characters switch into memory mode. More abrupt lighting changes or musical underscoring would achieve this. At times it is difficult to be certain what is real and what is remembered.
Luke Evans is charismatic in his tough-guy role. Phil Matthews admirably keeps his character Martin attractive without becoming sickeningly sweet. Simon Thomas is dippy but not too annoying as the sexually unsure Kevin - and sports an utterly convincing Welsh accent in one of the flashback sequences. Christopher Redmond delivers a classic repressed-public-schoolboy - serving the stereotypically-written character perfectly.
So, then, good performances, but the play ought to be better. Overall, the piece fails really to explore why these characters want to be filmed having sex. Just seeking novelty or a quick two hundred quid seem pat explanations. Seedier aspects of pornography, including drug abuse, are also ignored.
The overall effect is strangely wholesome. One character’s mention of Enid Blyton is unfortunate, because that's just what this play feels like. An Enid Blyton version of a porn docu-drama. Something in the title should have indicated this.
Cast Credits (alpha order): Luke Evans – Craig. Phil Matthews – Martin, Ingenue. Christopher Redmond – Robert. Simon Thomas – Kevin, Straight.
Company Credits: Writer – Jonathan Hall. Director - Russell Labey. Designer- Jason Denvir. Lighting Designer - Richard House. Music - Leon Parris. Stage Manager - Naomi Lee. General Manager - Guy Chapman, Kate Graham-Campbell (Guy Chapman Associates), assisted by Sophie Curtis. Marketing - Mathew Smith (Guy Chapman Associates). Press - Kevin Wilson (KWPR). Graphic Design - Andrew Newsom. Design Photography - Robert Workman.
(c) Tim Passmore 2004
reviewed Sunday 11 July 04 / Pleasance Theatre / London
Fringe Report (c) Fringe Report 2002-2013