We Want You to Watch

RashDash and Alice Birch
National Theatre’s Temporary Theatre

Helen Goalen and Bettrys Jones Credit: Richard Davenport
Helen Goalen, Abbi Greenland and Helena Lymbery Credit: Richard Davenport
Helena Lymbery Credit: Richard Davenport

We Want You to Watch is a revue which takes as its central topic pornography.

The 75 minutes are controlled and presented by RashDash's joint Artistic Directors, the dynamic duo of Helen Goalen and Abbi Greenland, from the eye-catching shelter of auburn and black wigs.

In five sketches written by the company with Alice Birch, the rather aggressive pairing attempts to show the harm that porn can do both to watchers and the watched.

Throughout, the approach is determinedly oblique, allowing viewers to come to their own conclusions.

The opening scene is both the most graphic and effective, as the two women conduct a police-style interrogation with a hapless milkman, played by Lloyd Everitt.

He may or may not have indulged in two activities, which in turn may or may not be connected. 1) Spending all of his non-working hours addictively watching sickeningly violent pornographic films. 2) Horrifically mutilating and murdering a young woman. This is gruelling but thought-provoking theatre.

Next up is a comic scene which shows Helena Lymbery playing the Queen after she has been kidnapped then asked to ban the evening's favourite subject. The differing takes on pornography from Her Majesty and Mmes Helen Goalen and Abbi Greenland are a source for some ripe humour.

The remainder of the 75 minutes becomes increasingly obscure featuring diffuse scenes the best of which shows a youngster on the receiving end of what might be thought of as a kind of seven ages of porn speech.

For many, the highlights may be the lively and superbly choreographed entr'actes, which force the central pairing to demonstrate the kind of stamina usually required by triathletes.

RashDash, along with writer Alice Birch and director Caroline Steinbeis, has found subject matter that deserves to be explored. Many might feel that while the underlying sentiments are right, We Want You to Watch does not consistently do its subject justice.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher

Are you sure?