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Love is all you need: The Island @cervantesthtr

A drama set on the seventh floor of a non-descript hospital waiting room may not be everyone's idea of a great night at the theatre. But love and all other forms of the human condition are dissected in Juan Carlos Rubio's The Island. Translated by Tim Gutteridge, it feels like everything is up for grabs. What is love? Is it a bond between two women with a fifteen-year age gap? Is it the love between a mother and her son with a severe unknown disability? A wonderful life full of health and happiness is not always an option on the menu, and the choices may become a bit less palatable. Throughout a series of sometimes banal conversations, what comes out is a story of two women with lives that are separate and together. And while the piece becomes darker on one level as it progresses, it never ceases to fascinate and draw further insights into the couples. It's currently playing at the Cervantes Theatre .  A couple waits in a hospital waiting room for the outcome of an accident

Washing the red pills down with the kool aid: Angry Alan @sohotheatre

There's a warning at the start of Angry Alan.  It's to alert you that some of the videos used in the production are available on Youtube. The ever-reliable platform for pop culture references, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and hate speech. All three come together here to show how effective social media is at radicalising and over-amplifying the darkest corners of the internet. It's currently playing at the Soho Theatre.

We meet Roger (Donald Sage Mackay). He was a high powered executive once. But now he's working at part time at a supermarket,  bothered by his ex wife.  and his girlfriend is studying feminism at community college. But one day while wasting time on the internet with click bait he finds a video that points out how awesome men are. Published by a man by the name of Angry Alan.  Soon he's going down the rabbit hole of the Men Going Their Own Way movement (or MGTOW). A movement which argues marriage fails in the cost benefit analysis.

Next he's embarrassing his girlfriend arguing with her friends about the gynocracy and red pills. The latter is a derivative reference to the film The Matrix, about recognising the gynocentric world that men live. Things move along amusingly (well they're amusing in that it's hard to believe people believe this pseudoscience), until his son announces he wants to be known as gender fluid. And then things take a much darker turn.

It's written and directed by Penelope Skinner and co-created with Mackay. It attempts to explain the current political landscape. And Mackay's detailed performance and a topical subject matter make this a compelling piece.

Although by selecting America it seems to be a safer choice. Heading home from the theatre, some self-styled "gilet jaunes" blocked the roads around Westminster. They seemed to have a shopping list of grievances (helpfully written on their vests). This included men's rights.

Angry Alan is at the Soho Theatre until 30 March. Videos raging against the gynocracy are a dime a dozen on Youtube and will run for years. They tend to cross reference each other and you'll find them running after ads for Intel gamer events and Travel Republic. They also sit alongside videos for UKIP and take downs of various snowflakes.


Photos by The Other Richard

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