Invisible Stranger

Invisible Stranger

Collecting Crises on Old Compton Street and Beyond

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Thursday, May 01, 2003
A Night At The Opera
Last night was spent with trailer trash and smack-heads, fat-bitch pole-dancers and cock-sucking faggots, in-bred hillbillies, big-dicked chicks, and diaper-clad "babies" into "brown". All women are whores, you know, and all gays must die.

Yes, my dears, I was down the National, having my very own Jerry Springer moment.

Jerry Springer – The Opera is a cult-in-the-making twist on the TV confessional, where guests line up for fifteen minutes of humiliation, and end up beating the crap out of each other. The National's show is foul-mouthed, misogynistic, homophobic, blasphemous, and grotesquely over-the-top. It's also a brilliantly funny, beautifully sung, top-notch piece of satire.

Hosted by Jerry (Michael Brandon) himself, what we're offered is an all-singing, all-dancing critique of confrontational TV. Along the way, it asks us who the real freaks are: the saddos baring their inadequacies live on prime-time TV, or the saddos sitting at home watching them. But most of all, and if you're not too easily offended, it's a rip-roaring, belly-achingly hilarious two-and-a-bit hours of complete and marvellous Trash.

For another view on the production, click on the April 24 entry at Overyourhead. And grab a ticket now – it's only playing in rep till the end of August, although the run's already been extended once.

Let's face it: anything which has Jerry anchoring a one-off special from Hell, with guest Satan having "issues" with Jesus; or which closes Act One with a tap-dancing routine by the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, is bound to appeal to the likes of me.

But what most warmed the cockles of my theatrical heart was the fact this was being staged by our very own, dear National Theatre. That's right: our very own, let's-not-tread-on-too-many-toes-shall-we-old-chap National, whose recent line in cutting-edge innovative drama has stretched, if you were lucky, to Martin Clunes in a not-bad Tartuffe, or a pointless revival of another done-to-death musical.

Suddenly, the National's in danger of becoming hip and controversial again. Blame artistic director Nick Hynter. Officially only in charge since last month, he's already brought sweeping changes to the concrete eyesore on the South Bank. And it's not just in an exciting new programme, but also in ticket prices slashed down to a minimum. This season, two-thirds of all seats for every performance in the thousand-seater Olivier auditorium will knock you back just ten quid. Yes, ten quid. Less than you'd pay to see X-Men 2 in Leicester Square. So get on down to the National. You know you should do. And now you can even afford to.

(And here endeth the Invisible Stranger's Theatre Rant for this month.)