Dumb Show by Joe Penhall
‘What sort of fee are we talking about?’
‘Mr Saturday Night’ Barry's fifteen minutes of infamy is overdue, and when laughter's your living ... that's no joke. Our famous down and out TV star turns to two saviors who come knocking on his dressing room door with a proposition complete with a healthy pay-cheque. But not everybody is what they seem and the payoff, whilst perhaps ‘in the public interest’ may not be quite in Barry’s!
Premiering in 2004, the play is more relevant now than ever before. This grubby black-comic satire about celebrity sting, taps right into the current question of the bankrupt values of our tabloid culture. However, it is also a bitter cry against the corrosive voyeurism of present-day Britain in which so many seem vicariously yet viciously addicted to the humiliation and misfortunes of others.
Dumb Show has three characters: Barry, Liz and Greg. Barry is a fading TV personality, not unlike Michael Barrymore. Liz and Greg are two slick and slippery characters who could easily pass for Private Tax-avoidance Advisors or young dynamic Newspaper Hacks. Or both.
The setting is a succession of hotel bedrooms set by the re-arrangement of furniture.
Joe Penhall’s fast-moving, dynamic play fizzes and crackles with life; often a look or gesture replacing the spoken word.
‘Funny and irreverant . . . Penhall’s writing is vibrant throughout’ Independent on Sunday