Posts Tagged ‘Mark Jagasia’

Another timely theatrical outing – this time a coruscating satire on the gutter press days after they (and the broadsheets too) have yet again interfered in the democratic process. It’s Mark Jagasia’s first play, but he’s spent years working for the institutions he satirises.

The Clarion is a very old tabloid newspaper now owned by a Cypriot businessman whose editor Morris has done his biding and turned it into a one-issue rag leading daily on dubious and preposterous immigration stories. Old school News Editor Albert and old school journalist Verity try to retain the values they were brought up with. Much younger journo Joshua is forced into finding the stories to feed the front page. ‘Work experience’ Pritti wants a permanent job, preferably connected with celebrities. A rogue astrologer and some whistle-blowing threaten its existence.

It’s the dialogue rather than the play’s storyline that’s its main strength; it’s sharp and laugh-out-loud funny, delivered by a cast who make every word crackle and pop. I’m used to Clare Higgins beaming smiles at curtain call – a woman in love with her job – but here they shone even brighter; she’s clearly having a ball and is perfectly cast as hard-nosed but principled Verity. Greg Hicks has created a real monster and was absolutely on fire, relishing every withering put-down. Jim Bywater is so very believable as the News Editor who just wants to get on with his job.

There are too few satires on the press (if theatre doesn’t do the job, who will?) but we’ve been lucky to have both Great Britain and this within twelve months. The packed matinee house of people of a certain age absolutely loved it. More please.

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