Nasty, Brutish and Short – Joyce McMillan Review

November 16, 2008 | Filed Under Reviews 

Nasty, Brutish and Short. Set by Wilkinson and Hill in some dystopian dump where the characters live with their feet in two inches of cold water… this is a nightmare hate-triangle of a play, in which a violent and bullying older brother, Jim, wades brutally into the fragile relationship between younger brother Luke – just out of mental hospital – and his new girlfriend Mary Jane, a helpless and childlike teenage mother.

The play has a certain primal power, particularly towards the end; and

Ashley Smith gives a harrowing performance as the battered Mary Jane.

In a culture saturated with sadistic porn, though, there’s something chillingly voyeuristic about the way this play forces the audience to watch the relentless bullying and eventual rape of Mary Jane; and something reactionary about the way it distances that violence from the audience by adopting such a familiar caricature of a working-class Glasgow voice.

Original Review

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