NSFW
  • By Rik Baker
  • |
  • 13th Aug 2014
  • |
  • ★★★★★

It is an exceptionally brave thing for an amateur company to take a recent professional London production and attempt to pull it off as a Fringe performance, but this is exactly what Macaroon Productions have done with Lucy Kirkwood's NSFW (which premiered at the Royal Court earlier this year). It succeeds with chutzpah.

There is no weak link here, no actor who could not pull their weight on the professional stage.

NSFW stands for 'Not safe for work.' It refers to adult content, usually digital, that isn't the sort of thing you want to be caught looking at in the office: it’s likely to get you fired. In the world of the play, this centres on the ambiguity surrounding the age of consent and to whether or not an over-developed underage girl is fit material for the fictional lad’s mag, Doghouse.

Directors Ellie Keel and Isabel Marr have perfectly captured Kirkwood's invitation to consider the paradox of the current economic climate, which forces intelligent, principled graduates into areas of employment whose values are anathema to them. Moreover, by double-casting Lara McIvor as both the frumpy, 9 to 5, any-work-to-pay-the-rent Charlotte as well as the hand-moisturising, back-biting, career girl Miranda, they also emphasise the parallels between the voyeuristic agendas of men's magazines like Aidan's Doghouse and the high-flying chic of Miranda's magazine Electra. Outside of these parallel worlds, disgusted with the unscrupulousness of Doghouse and yet complicit in it, stands the man on the street, Mr. Bradshaw, whose working-class antithesis to Bevan's fawning, sleazy Aidan is brilliantly brought out by Christopher Evans.

Of course, it helps when you have a great script to work with; Kirkwood's writing is both witty and satirically incisive. That said, you still need actors alive to the possibilities of the text and directors capable of bringing their talent out: Macaroon have both of these in abundance. It is hard to believe that this was an opening performance: there is no weak link here, no actor who could not pull their weight on the professional stage. Macaroon Productions are clearly a company not to be missed. 

Reviews by Rik Baker

Pleasance Theatre

Folie à Deux

★★★★★
Hispaniola

Albee Vector the Sound Collector

★★★★★
theSpace @ Symposium Hall

PratFall

Assembly Roxy

Anthem for a Doomed Youth

★★★★
C venues - C nova

NSFW

★★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Hot Cat

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Lucy Kirkwood’s razor sharp comedy exposes the world of media where scandal and glamour meet corruption and sleaze. Set between sordid lads' mag Doghouse and women’s fashion weekly Electra, NSFW satirises the media’s obsession with Photoshop, power and boobs. At Doghouse, editor Aidan deals with a furious father whose 14-year-old daughter has been featured in a topless spread. Meanwhile at Electra, editor Miranda interviews Sam for a job - but if she can’t make him realise that his ex-girlfriend’s nipples repulsed him, how will he survive in a job defined by finding flaws in perfect celebrity bodies?