Blurred Lines @ The Shed (National Theatre) Review

Cast your mind back to the summer months of 2013. Britain was surprisingly in the midst of one of the hottest summers ever recorded and a little known artist going by the name of Robin Thicke was causing  a controversial storm within the Top 40… "Blurred Lines" You couldn’t turn on your television or radio without running into the falsetto tones of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines; which saw the artist score the UK’s top selling single of 2013 and catapulted to world wide super stardom . A seemingly innocent summer anthem on the surface, the single became infamous not only for its suggestive lyrical content, but also for the accompanying video which saw Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I smugly looking towards the camera whilst practically naked models pranced and danced around them. The song, consequentially was slammed for its objectification of women. Looking to address the apparent issue of gender inequality, especially within the mainstream media, Nick Payne’s topical and aptly named Blurred Lines holds up a mirror to society as the piece challenges the treatment of women in our day and age. Comprised of a cast of 8 women, the ensemble satirised the notion of stereotypes as they each gave a description of themselves, and how society perceives them; from the ditzy blonde, to the black single parent, the mousy individual to the woman with the characteristic face. A comical, yet truthful account of how women are categorised and judged. With Bunny Christie‘s glitzy staircase staging which encompassed the entire set, this smartly merged the superficial worlds of the music video with the ensembles accounts of everyday life. In a sense, it were as if the piece were an extended version of a music video, deconstructing the imaginary world for what it truly is. Carrie Cracknell‘s direction shocked and evoked as the cast transitioned from satirical songs to startling scenarios. The piece explored a range of subject matters, from a couple’s dispute about the effects of watching pornography on their relationship, a worker being publicly humiliated by her colleagues for trying to juggle a career with being a mother, and a chauvinistic director’s explanations for his artistic choices. Drawing a parallel to Blurred Lines’ lyrical content, other songs such as Lady Gaga’s Do What you Want and Pharrell Williams‘ Lapdance came under scrutiny for their suggestive and sexual connotations. A surprising reminder of what it takes to make a successful hit. Fantastic performance were given by the cast, the performances were humorous, real and moving.

Although the piece came across as too busy, attempting to address the many issues in this complex debate, Nick Payne‘s Blurred Lines was immediate, honest and a symbolic piece of our times. 3/5"Blurred Lines"

Blurred Lines is currently showing at The Shed (National Theatre) until 22nd February, for more information click here…

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