Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Self Tape... "Batten patently has an amazing body - and we do see a lot of it on stage - but perhaps the play itself is not quite so revealing." @kingsheadthtr @kingsheadtheatre

Last night Stuart and I went to see Self Tape, another show in A Queer Interrogation, a season curated by Tom Ratcliffe for The Takeover at the King's Head Theatre in London's glitzy Islington.
Self Tape is a monodrama written and performed by Michael Batten, and directed by Scott Le Crass. Batten plays super-buff Jonas, a jobbing-actor and council-estate boy 'done good'. Only the acting work is in short supply despite our hero submitting endless auditions for plays and adverts online. We, the audience, watch him record these short auditions with lots of funny asides from Jonas as what he really thinks about the products. 
We also see that to make ends meet Jonas works as a webcam 'model' (i.e. online sex-worker.) He gets his kit off and has sex for online payments. He keeps this cyber-sex side-hustle secret from his husband Kieran (who we never see) though but is the risk of exposure worth it?  As Jonas gets more deeply involved with one particular punter (Neil Burgess in a pre-recorded role) things start to take a turn for the sour. And things start to go off the rails when an attack from an unknown source looks to jeopardise his budding acting career.   
Written during lockdown, a period that saw an big rise in the camming industry, the piece attempts to hold a mirror up to contemporary society and explore modern relationships; in-person & virtual, aiming to break the manifold taboos of sex-work.
Batten patently has an amazing body - and we do see a lot of it on stage - but perhaps the play itself is not quite so revealing. The motivations get a little lost in the cyberspace and plot holes are just a little too numerous to count. That said, a few technical hiccups aside, it was good show. But with a little more work it could be a great one.


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