Our relationship with fame has always tended to be a most fickle one. We both love it and loath it. Desire yet distrust it. For those who have ‘made it’, there is a niggling sense that they have cheated in some way, even when their talent or accomplishments are extraordinary and warrant the attention. Yet it is still not uncommon to worship the most useless and revolting creatures for reasons that I can only pin down as being psychotic. Such capricious individuals surely get the heroes they deserve.
15 Minutes is a brand new play by Laura Neal, which deals with the trappings of fame and the obsession with celebrity culture.
Marshall, a run-down “writer of sorts”, arrives at the birthplace of an international star to interview a friend on the nature of celebrity for his upcoming book. Whilst there he suffers a dreadful accident, damaging his face beyond recognition. By sheer coincidence, the beautiful film star dies in a car crash that same night, bringing inconsolable grief to the people of the town. But with Marshall still alive, perhaps all is not lost. There’s nothing a little bit of plastic surgery can’t fix.
The play very much feels like a bad dream which, in this case, proves to be no bad thing. Fast, manic and nightmarish from start to finish, its electric energy is dazzling and even a little scary at times. 15 Minutes does have a sense of ridiculousness about it that, whilst it has its charms, can annoy as the show rolls on, but there are enough genuine laughs to keep the audience interested and save the show from sinking into complete obscurity.
The performances by the youthful cast are a mixed bag, but when it’s good it really is quite good and any shaky moments are soon forgotten.
It doesn’t really say anything new about the issues it chooses to explore, but it’s an entertaining, if strange, little show that I suspect will, very much like the celebrity cult it examines, either entertain or annoy you. For me, for the most part, I was entertained.
Runs til 10 August.