Royal Court Theatre, Jerwood Theatre Upstairs,
Sloane Square, London SW1W 8AS
Mon-Sat 7.45, Mats Sats, 4pm
Post-show talk Oct 22
Age guidance 18+
Runs 1hr 20mins without an interval
TICKETS 020 7565 -5000
In person: Mon–Sat, 10am-start of perf or 6pm if no show
Sign Interpreted Performances: email firstname.lastname@example.org;
Audio-Described Performances: tel: 020 7565 5100;
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Review: by Carole Woddis of performance seen Sept 29, 2009
Tim Crouch certainly likes to put himself in the hot seat. In a good cause.
Crouch has a mission to freshly explore that old chestnut, what is `theatre’ but does it in such a way as to throw up legions of questions about responsibility within it. Anyone who saw his An Oak Tree will remember the unease stirred up by its intertwining of hypnosis, bereavement and manipulation. The Author goes further.
This time the audience itself is part of the `plant’. And this time, Crouch, part of the audience along with his three actors embedded in the audience who sit facing each other in the Court’s upstairs studio room, `plays’ the famous author of a violent play.
Leaving aside the relationship of artist to audience – and the participation of the audience is very much an active ingredient here – Crouch is questioning the very nature of violence on stage, how it affects those who perform it and those who watch it.
In essence, a study in the pornography of violence, Crouch asks how should it be portrayed and how far should it go as a reflection of real life?
The author of the piece, by the way, goes under the name of Tim Crouch. So there he is. Crouch as author playing Crouch The Author in a piece about violence, manipulation, abuse. And yes, the glamour of theatre.
For in between darker themes about the responsibility of authors, directors and indeed any in positions of ultimate power and authority, Crouch’s narrative cleverly juxtaposes light-hearted banter between a Royal Court `fan’ and the audience. We are lulled into a false sense of security before being ultimately plunged into a chamber of horrors.
The Author is perhaps Crouch’s most elegant show to date: intimate, wrong-footing and highly moral. For what he shows, by putting himself in the hot seat as a male creator and abuser, is the potential for abuse heightened by today’s technology. The easy access of images, at a click, have made people more vulnerable. But what he also shows is that we have a choice as to whether or not to act on our impulses.
Directors: Karl James, a smith
Lighting Designer: Matt Drury
Music & Sound Designers: Ben & Max Ringham
Production Manager: Tariq Rifaat
Stage Managers: Bryony Drury, fran O’Donnell
Costume Supervisor: Jackie Orton
Review published on this site, Sept 16, 2019
Review first published on Reviewsgate