Product: World Remix
Written and performed by Mark Ravenhill
It is not everyone that could manage to have a panto, Dick Whittington, and a satire on the War on Terror running simultaneously. Then again, few playwrights other than Mark Ravenhill would seek to act out their fantasies on stage in a monologue that now stretches to over an hour.
When Product opened in the Traverse Theatre's smaller second space in early August 2005, it seemed a remarkable work of prescience since the London bombings had taken place less than one month before and everyone present was fearful of what was to come. Now, perspective is poised to offer a 9/11 movie boom.
Eighteen months on, the climate is not quite the same, neither is the play. The World Remix primarily puts a chunk on to the end of the original script, making the piece more rounded but not necessarily adding a great deal.
The biggest difference is in the acting. Striding around the stage, Ravenhill seems to have gained in confidence and convinces to a far greater degree as the pretentious movie director trying to sell the almost pornographic part of Amy to a well-known actress.
His partner this time is the red-headed Jo Lobban, whose responsiveness in what is now a slightly better-developed part gives the actor/writer really positive support, even though she does not utter a word.
The main story of Mohammed and Me is still the same. Beautiful Amy meets Mohammed on a plane and subsequently serendipity throws them together in a cab and then her life.
The plot takes a turn when Osama rolls up, sounding like a cartoon character and enlists Mohammed to blow up Disney in Paris, as part of a series of attacks on the West.
Amy is so much in love that she demands to come along for the ride even though rather than Paradise, she will end up in pieces.
The whole thing is preposterous but that is the point. Ravenhill is satirising the movie industry, while at the same time commenting on the terrifying absurdity of the battle waging between Al Quaeda and the Bush/Blair axis.
This is an enjoyable small piece of theatre, much better performed and worthwhile for some of the views that Ravenhill so wittily espouses on the glittery society that the movies create and their callousness when it comes to their shallow investigation of sensitive subjects.
Reviewer: Philip Fisher