Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

An Evening of Filth and Despair

Jenny May Morgan
Re:Play Festival, HOME Manchester
Number One, First Street, Manchester

An Evening of Filth and Despair

The brilliantly evocative and provocative title pretty much sums up the character of Pamela DeMenthe, writer and solo performer Jenny May Morgan's erotic thrilller writer character.

DeMenthe signs the programmes of audience members as they enter as though they are copies of her latest erotic thriller, Sticky Digits, the 28th novel she has written over the past year.

She opens the show with a lecture on how easy it is to write a novel, complete with tacky Powerpoint slides with suggestive graphics. We find out about her husband Keith, who is unable to become aroused by her, and his friendship with her writing teacher Raoul—in fact the audience discovers rather more about her personal life than she appears to know, or at least admit, herself.

She does a quick Q&A (no actual questions from the real audience are required) followed by a length reading from Sticky Digits, which features hunky male characters called Heath and Rodrigo—where did she get her inspiration for these from—who have an annoying habit of turning into ravens just as she begins to have a relationship with them.

The character originated in some sketch comedy pieces created by Morgan. As a piece lasting nearly an hour, it is still very funny and well-performed, but for me it was a bit too long, particularly the reading from the novel. There's enough great comic material to make the show worth a visit, but some bits do feel a bit like padding.

Morgan has great comic delivery and timing and Lindsey Chapman's direction keeps everything moving at a brisk pace with some very clever and perfectly timed use of projection.

Of course it's quite rude in places, but if that isn't likely to offend then it's well worth looking out for now that its run at Re:Play has ended.

Jenny May Morgan talks about this play in the Re:Play Festival episode of our podcast.

Reviewer: David Chadderton