Set in a London Newspaper office, Clarion has a scarily authentic feel from the start. In a world where the printed word is being taken over by its digital counterparts and newspapers are having to fight tooth and nail for survival, the cut-throat nature of the sensationalist journalism is depicted in this hilarious and extremely clever piece of theatre.
The plot follows the hard drinking dinosaur of Fleet Street, Verity Stokes played by three time Olivier winner Clare Higgins, who’s loyalties to the paper are tested when would be whistle blower Josh, Ryan Wichert shows her an incriminating letter which could link the paper’s Editor to an incitement of terrorism.
Higgins is wonderful as the smoky voiced former glamour puss who is desperate to hang on to any modicum of her former glorious and decorated career. Wichert is charming as the aspiring novelist who raised a titter with this press night audience when confiding his ambitions to the vacuous and ungenerous work experience girl, played by Laura Smithers. I did feel the air head was slightly overdone in places and I think many in the audience were pleased when the character was subjected to a hard slap from Higgins.
The vile and bullish editor Morris Honeyspoon played by Greg Hicks is the epitome of filth. Bullying, bigoted and beastly, Hicks portrayed this eerily familiar character with badinage and verisimilitude. There was a chorus of guilty laughter at some of his really quite distasteful and yet perfectly delivered rants.
Jim Bywater as Albert and Peter Bourke as Clive both provided good support as the aged news editor and the corporate executive respectively while John Atterbury gave an endearing edge to the eccentric astrologist Dickie.
An insightful and side splitting evening of entertainment, this is a must see, especially for anyone who works within the media industry.
Reviewed by Nicky Sweetland
Photo Credit: SIMON ANNAND
Clarion is playing at the Arcola Theatre until 16 May 2015. Click here for tickets