Mark Ravenhill: Product (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

Mark Ravenhill: Product

Olivia Poulet

Media can make anything stupid

Mark Ravenhill’s scripts have a nasty bite: Product operates both as a satire on the ability of the media to make politics trivial and a provocative meditation on the paranoia surrounding the War on Terror. A fast-paced monologue, Product has Leah (Olivia Poulet) pitching a film script to an actor, trying to persuade them that the ridiculous plot – about a woman who falls in love with a Jihadi – has a profound emotional depth.

If the pitch is dumb, Ravenhill’s script is a sophisticated play on the simultaneous attraction and repulsion of terrorism. Leah seems to be erotically entranced by the film’s tale of fucking and fighting, and Poulet’s restless movements betray Leah’s hidden anxieties and excitements. By filtering the War on Terror through a badly conceived script, Ravenhill examines how misconceptions and lazy logic distort the so-called ‘Clash of Civilisations’ into simplistic battle between love and hate, hope and fear.

Many of Ravenhill’s themes – the orientalism of the Muslim male as both object of terror and lust, the desperate need to make sense of conflicting desires – remain relevant some eight years after its first staging: diving into the darkness where fear, lust and violence meet, Ravenhill’s cerebral analysis is an emotive provocation.

Assembly Hall, 623 3030, until 20 Aug (not 12), £13 -£14 (£12 – £13)

Mark Ravenhill: Product

  • 4 stars

Inside Intelligence Ravenhill vs Hollywood. Torrid scenes of passion, the dark spectre of international terrorism and big, big explosions. Right now, Julia is a hot young starlet. But has Leah (Olivia Poulet: The Thick Of It; In The Loop; Outnumbered) got the perfect script to save her from B-movie hell? From the…