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The male gaze: Turning the screw

It's been a while since trips to the theatre. I've been busy. But it's nice to see that it's the creative process that is at the heart of Kevin Kelly's Turning the Screw. And what gives rise to it. It's a dramatisation of the creative process leading up to composer Benjamin Britten's premiere of his opera, The Turning of the Screw. With deadlines approaching, Britten seems stuck over melodies and unsure about completing the piece for its summer premiere. But the selection of twelve-year-old choirboy David Hemmings in the leading role of Miles within the opera is the spark that motivates him to complete the piece. And his presence may stir other feelings, too. It's currently playing at the Kings Head Theatre .  Britten's fascination with young boys has been the subject of a detailed book, Britten's Children. The book suggests that Britten saw himself as a young boy of 13. It's almost as if he saw himself as Peter Pan, albeit if Peter Pan was a

Let's talk about stuff: Clickbait @theatre503

Clickbait is a comic new play about society’s attitude to porn and the women who make it for themselves. But it is hard to know exactly what to make of it.

There is enough material for several plays here; attitudes to pornography, how to set up a sex empire, concepts of consensual sex. They are all explored, but all too briefly to make much sense.

The play follows Nicola (played by Georgia Groome) who, threatened with the release of an amateur sex video, makes a snap decision to post it online herself.

But soon she is fielding unrelenting media interest and setting up her own sex empire with her two sisters as if it were as easy as setting up a theatre blog.

It all feels a little superficial. The youngest teenage sister (played by the amusing Alice Hewkin) also gets the raw deal in having to explain vast chunks of social media-speak to the audience.

The silliness builds as Nicola becomes a powerful porn magnate who wears polyester pyjamas and bunny slippers. It only redeems itself in the final moments when it grounds it back to origins of the revenge porn.

It is a pity as there is an interesting story among it all. There are some interesting ideas about responding to revenge porn, social media trolls (depicted by the actors with masks) and what it is to be sexually empowered. But none of them are considered long enough to support the show.

And while the title is catchy, it is a little confusing. Clickbait is those links to stories such as "how to retire at 55" or "what you should do for thinning hair". It isn't really about sex or revenge porn. But then again, I wasn't sure the play was either...

Clickbait by Milly Thomas runs at Theatre503 until 13 February.


Photos: Production images by Oliver King

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