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4 star review for Clint’s Reality from the Scotsman

Great Scotsman review that came in for the final two shows. It has rounded off the whole Edinburgh experience so nicely and gave us two large audiences to play with. We actually ended up on the front page, which I think is the biggest double take I’ve ever done at a newstand. Here’s the photographic evidence: 

Eddie Evans and his big airbrushed face staring from the shelves of every newsagents in Edinburgh

And here’s the actual review: 

Scotsman Festival Guide- hotshow:

      CLINT’S REALITY       

*   *   *   *

Aireborne Theatre do a great job of satirising reality television in a well structured piece by James Huntrods

It is not an easy thing to write a piece of drama about reality television. For one thing actors and theatre people often hate the genre which has dominated our TV screens for the past ten years. There’s also the fact that, whatever actors believe, it is very difficult to imitate reality television – which has its own peculiarly compelling quality precisely because it is real. 

Aireborne Theatre get round the issue by presenting a play about reality TV – or more specifically about the people who create it – in the highly artificial and melodramatic style of an old-fashioned theatrical farce. Lots of opening and shutting doors, plenty of rushing around, a bit of falling over; at one point there is even a character dressed as a French maid. The acting is deliberately hammy – partly for comic effect – but behind the absurdities of the plot lies a real understanding of the genre which has become such a huge money-spinning part of the entertainment industry. 

The action centres around Clint Resolute, a reality producer in the Endemol/Simon Cowell mode, who lives a life of luxury thanks to his ability to manipulate and package reality. His Achilles heel is his own life, which is starting to get unmanageably messy. His wife wants a divorce, his son has a drug problem, there are rumours of vote rigging and his press agent (played with a fine comic touch by Luke Murphy) is getting very nervous. 

In the classic tradition of farce all the elements of Clint’s life collide on one fateful evening in his luxury flat. Doors slam, unexpected guests appear, coincidences, accidents and misunderstandings abound. Reality itself begins to conspire against Clint, and we wonder how the great manipulator will cope. As the evening becomes ever more chaotic the fundamental moral bankruptcy of every one of the characters involved is more and more evident. 

Despite the superficial silliness of the piece, James Huntrods has written a well-structured, well thought-out and very funny piece of theatre, which does a better job of satirising reality television – or more specifically the patrician overlords behind it – than anything I have seen before. 

Claire Smith 

—- 

So in the end it was a critically split play. We had some varied reviews. Here are the statistics. 

** The List, Three Weeks, Public Review 

*** Fringe Review, WhatsonStage, The New Current 

**** The Scotsman, All the festivals, One4Review 

***** Remote Goat. 

Talk about dividing the critics. I also have compiled a group of contradictory quotes, some are even from the same performance: 

“This is an incredibly strong piece of new writing” – remotegoat
“A somewhat lacking script” – The List 
“A razor sharp piece of farce” – Fringe Review
“The script could have been sharper” – Whatsonstage 

“It is Clint himself (Evans) who is the production’s weakest link” – 

“The role of Clint is the driving force behind the whole play and the actor playing him controls the stage with as much savvy as his character does the media” – All the Festivals 

And my personal favourite:
“Another thing that struck me is that although the actors are all roughly the same age whilst their characters span the generations the self assured accuracy of the performances never draws attention to this.” – Remote Goat
“The actors need to move away from their youth to play the characters in this piece…At the moment we feel a little too uncomfortable watching some mildly embarrassed teenagers dressed as grown ups.” – Public Review
 

Brilliant.

Nevermind, it’s been a great two months building this show and a brilliant way to end my time at Leeds and the Workshop Theatre. Thank you everyone involved. ‘Till next year!