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Neilson's The Censor arouses an intriguing debate



Review by Emma Whitelaw

JUST where the love story ends and the porn begins is a hotly debated topic among many film buffs, but imagine the dispute between a producer of pornographic films and the Censor holding the scissors that could make or break her career?

Controversial playwright, Anthony Neilson’s The Censor, currently showing at The Union Theatre, is the story of how two very different people become the most unlikely of lovers.

The exceptionally talented Helen Blackmore plays Miss Fontaine, an extremely persuasive pornographic producer.

She is a bizarrely sexual woman, a woman who knows what she wants and, more importantly, how to get it. She is confident to the point of arrogance.

She believes so strongly in the artistic value of her work that she will do anything to make sure it gets an audience. She embarks upon 'promoting' her film, her victim – the Censor.

Not to be confused with seduction, Miss Fontaine simply uses her womanhood to help The Censor understand the underlying themes in her filmic masterpiece.

Matthew Brockington is superb as the seemingly innocent Censor. He plays the character with intense sensitivity and brings a feminine balance to the harshness of Miss Fontaine’s dominance.

His scenes with the temptress, Miss Fontaine and his wife are at complete polar opposites.

Miss Fontaine is soft, sensual and seductive, whereas his wife, played by the stunning Nicola Drinkwater, and her infidelities are rough, callous and insensitive.

The Censor is a cleverly written play that uses humour and the rhythmic juxtapositioning of scenes to emphasise its complex themes.

The bounds between love and physicality are questioned and the result is both extremely hilarious and sexy.

As part of a double bill, The Union is currently playing host to The Watershed Series, a workshop of a new play each night at 9pm following the Censor.

I was lucky enough to see Spill, by Chris Head, and I cannot commend this work enough; it is a truly remarkable piece and a credit to both writer and actors alike.

Chris Head is by far one of the best writers I have come across this year! His work is remarkably intricate; the characters so complex they break through the fourth wall and are as real as the audience you sit among.

Although it was only a rehearsed reading, the audience was clearly touched by the story of Talbot, a man who loses his girlfriend tragically, and returns to his hometown after living the highlife in London, only to find his bedroom has been leased to a seedy lodger that has only his mother’s knickers, I mean, best interests in mind.

It is an inspirational tale of love overcoming adversity, that is sure to not only touch one’s heart, but touch one’s funny bone too!

The Censor by Anthony Neilson. Presented by The Other Theatre Company. Directed by Derek Bond. Starring Matthew Brockington, Helen Blackmore and Nicola Drinkwater. November 16 to December 6, 2004 at the Union Theatre, 204 Union Street, Southwark, London SE1. Box Office 020 7621 9876.
Spill by Chris Head. Starring Elliot Hill, Jennie Lathan, John Higgins, Victoria Temple-Morris and directed by Tom Cooper.

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