To the Lyric to see Sarah Kane's Blasted, which Stef has been assisting Sean Holmes to direct. When it was first produced at the Royal Court in the mid nineties it caused a huge storm and seemed to mark a watershed, a return to a more direct, visceral form of writing. Quickly the critics announced a new movement proclaiming playwrights as diverse as Sarah, Mark Ravenhill, Anthony Neilson, David Eldridge, Philip Ridley, Joe Penhall and Rebecca Prichard as belonging to the new stable of In-Yer-Face theatre. Why suggest when you could tell and why tell when you could show?
In-Yer-Face certainly fitted a mood and a time - the fag end of both Major's government and the millennium itself and in it's own terms kind of tried to shock itself with it's own depravity, of which Sarah was the queen. It was partly an effort to wake everybody up in a time of slumber and partly just an explosion of talent unafraid to write fast, loose and for small intimate spaces. It felt vital then.
Fifteen years on I was shocked by how quickly dated this play has become. Its vanguard power gone, all that seemed to be left was a bitter attempt to reveal cruelty and evil in its purest form. Nothing is redeemed, nothing is ambiguous and ultimately for those reasons nothing ultimately hit home. Despite some really good work from the actors and a meticulous production it was a strangely dislocated hour and a half.