The play concerns a group of Hollywood casting agents and actors who abuse themselves and others with booze, drugs, sex and violence.

The taste of the play was there for all to see right at the start when 'Eddie'(Rupert Graves), is seen smashing up the place on the darkened stage and then when the lights come on he is lying on the floor with his naked bottom facing the audience.

'Eddie', is a disgusting drunken slob who is on drugs, untidy, filthy and scratches his private parts a lot. It is not a nice sight. His best friend 'Phil' (Andy Serkis) an actor, is without doubt a psychopath. He thinks he can tell what people think of him by just looking in to their eyes and he always sees the worst things. Eddie and Phil may be friends but they spend virtually the whole play shouting at each other and having the most incredibly boring and vile conversations. The rest of the characters are not much better. There is 'Micky' (David Tennant) who is Eddie's flat mate who thinks he is god's gift to women. He considers himself a charmer which he puts in to practice by stealing Eddie's girl. The other male part 'Artie'(Mark Benton) is the chubby comic one who adds a little light relief, and boy do we need it! The female characters are 'Donna', a hitchhiker who 'Artie' finds lurking around an elevator and ends up bringing her to Eddie's house where three of the men end up using her for sex. 'Darlene' (Jenny Seagrove) is the girlfriend of Eddie, and I must say her character looks totally out of place amongst the rest. I mean she seems half decent! Then there is 'Bonnie' a strip dancer with balloons who sleeps with almost anyone.

This play has been getting good reviews from most of the popular press but frankly I find it repulsive. I simply cannot understand why such a play was written. It shows human behavior at its worse and is totally exaggerated, or I hope it is! The characters are believable in their own right, but all together they are a bit much to take in. There are too many scenes of shouting, fighting and drug taking and not enough intelligent dialogue.

Lasting 2 hours 40 minutes I thought the play would never end. I came out of the theatre deaf from the shouting and almost a nervous wreck. This was because I was sitting just four rows from the stage in the stalls and there was an awful lot of furniture flying about with some out it flying off the stage towards us poor souls in the audience.

Although the story is tripe, the acting is powerful, particularly by Rupert Graves and Andy Serkis. The weakest link is Jenny Seagrove as 'Darlene' who lacks the authority and power of the others.

As I said the popular press like 'Hurlyburly'. NICHOLAS DE JONGH of THE EVENING STANDARD says the play " breathes an air of sophisticated comedy and laughter.", BILL HAGERTY of THE NEWS OF THE WORLD agrees, describing it as " ..hilarious...quite simply, electrifying." DAVID MURRAY of The FINANCIAL TIMES says the play is mostly "very funny" I couldn't DISAGREE more with all of these!

This is a play that is out to shock and is geared very much at a younger audience, a bit like 'Popcorn' which is playing next door at the Lyric. The difference being that Popcorn is an intelligent play with a good story. Hurlyburly does not have a story, just a bunch of low life characters arguing over pathetic things. I won't be seeing this play again!

(Darren Dalglish)

Originally published on

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