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March 15, 2010 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Pink Lighter


Patrick Graham, the director of Pink Lighter, likes to call himself the “Ed Wood of theatre”. His work clearly aspires to fall into the much vaunted style of kitsch that is ‘so bad it’s good’. He seems to think that filling the theatre with a deep stink of overt horribleness—chronic masterbators, faeces smearing and all kinds of hopeless snark—qualifies as edginess.

Which it doesn’t.

It barely qualifies as theatre. To be edgy you need to express ideas in a dynamic and interesting way. It isn’t edgy to have a character whose catchphrase is “I’m not a gaybo.”

Pink Lighter is an abomination. A sin. A crime. There is nothing wrong with pushing boundries, there is nothing wrong with the taboo, with the outré. There is something wrong when you’re being crude for its own sake. Filth cannot just wallow in itself, it must have a wider muck of ideas to cream itself with.

And if there is one thing that Pink Lighter is lacking, it is ideas. It is painfully, almost willfully uninspired. Characters spend whole scenes playing video games or reguritating clichés or just burbling. Not a concept in sight.

Pink Lighter was like a bad impression of theatre. As one of the people I attended it with (I say attended when what I mean is endured) pointed out, it was like they had put a thick piece of paper over a play and then shaded over it in crayon. A crayon made of shit.

The script, by Jonathon Riley, is an abberation of non-sequiters. It is a fluster cuck of things just whatever happening or something. The dialogue is bored burbling from fallen slack mouths. Luckily the actors spend so much time muffling their lines and shouting you miss most of the dialogue and plot and get to focus on all the rest of the wrong.

Graham makes an interesting gambit to represent the set through a chalk diagram on the floor. A very cool idea. Well, it would have been had the performers made any attempt to use it. But they don’t. Over Pink Lighter’s unendurable hour you pay constant witness to characters walking through walls for no reason.

This is a show so juvenilely obsessed with breaking the rules that it cannot follow its own.

The performances were dull, uninspired and often incoherent.

There came a point during the performance I attended of Pink Lighter where the audience started heckling. Which I normally hate. And this wasn’t fun, witty heckling. This was “Just shut up you dick!”, “This is getting really fucking wrong!”, and, at one point, “Just end now!” Which it deserved.

Now, I may be wrong. Maybe Pink Lighter was simply operating at a level of theatrical purity and genius that it soared way over my head and those of everyone else who saw it. Or it might just be the theatrical equivalent of the moment a two-year-old discovers that they own their very own genitals and starts having a bit of a mad poke.

Pink Lighter
Written by Jonathon Riley
Directed by Patrick Graham
With Bray Croft, Charlotte Blacklock, Chanel Turner, Jonathon Riley and Patrick Graham.

At BATS 1 – 5 March 2010. Part of the 2010 Fringe Festival.


About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

Comments (2)

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  1. Alex McFaiden says:

    I have to say i disagree with parts of this.

    Myself and my Mother went on Friday the 5th and found it to be rather entertaining in its crass themes, this is not a safe ‘inside the box’ play, rather it was so far out of the box, to some who look for deeper meaning within all things it would come across as overtly disgusting and sickening.

    The characters were well played, yet sometimes a few of the actors did shout lines, where in BATS it is not needed (maybe rehearsed in a bad space?)

    I found the three flatmates adorable, was also entertaining to see a disfunctional relationship based on sexual tension on stage with Jack and Fran.

    If you like South park, Family guy etc, this would be a fantastic play to see, as it uses very much the same well timed comical humour.


  2. Arthur says:

    “Or it might just be the theatrical equivalent of the moment a two-year-old discovers that they own their very own genitals and starts having a bit of a mad poke”

    jesus christ uther

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