Thursday, June 27, 2002

Julie Burchill is Away

Saw this, at the Soho Theatre last night. The writer, Tim Fountain, describes it as "the complete, warts and all story of Burchill's rise from a Bristol council estate in the 1960s, via rock journalism and 1980s Soho to her current seaside retreat."

I'm not sure I'd say that. It's funny - but then all the lines are Julie's, and she's dead funny - but I'm pretty convinced Tim went down to Brighton, had a few lunches with Julie and wrote them up. There's great observations though:

"I love hearing seagulls, they sound like all their PMT came at once. I think the reason they sound so sad is that each sagull contains the spirit of a Londoner who always meant to move ot Brighton but died before they managed it and now they're condemned to fly endlessly in search of their final nesting place"

"There's just two school of male writing, the pansies and the pugilists. You're either a Parisian faggot who writes between asthma attacks, or you're Hemmingway and you fit it in betewen bullfights."

Ultimately the play is just a stringing-together of Julie's best one-liners, delivered with a post-modern plotless simplicity that makes me think I'm a playright, too. Jackie Clune represents her well - and thank God she doesn't do the squeaky voice the whole time - and she manages to capture Julie's impish flirtatiousness rather well. I always thought of Julie as a fifteen year old struggling to get out the matronly body she'd found herself in. And for cleavage lovers, I'm not entirely convinced that Jackie was wearing a bra.

The audience watching, on the other hand, was mesmeric. I was sitting next to Marie Helvin, and I couldn't help noticing that my thighs are least twice the size of hers. She really didn't look well; I think you can have too much plastic surgery. Her face is permanently surprised. Her theatre companion also had a Nazi handbag and I have brusies this morning beacause she kept hitting me in the shins. Maybe you're not supposed to look at Marie directly?

Matt Lucas was in the bar downstairs and it was all very jolly-media-crowd. Though I have to say that this is the second thing I've seen at the Soho Theatre, and it just feels like a very upmarket college environment. It's not quite a real theatre, and it wasn't quite a real play.

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