Ginger Hibiscus | Ginger Hibiscus | REVIEW: Clarion at the Arcola Theatre
Ginger Hibiscus | REVIEW: Clarion at the Arcola Theatre
Ginger Hibiscus | REVIEW: Clarion at the Arcola Theatre
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26 Apr REVIEW: Clarion at the Arcola Theatre

Clarion01How else would you expect to see a national newspaper celebrate 125 years in business, than with the wilfully fabricated headline, “Fury Over Sharia Law for Toddlers”?

Welcome to The Daily Clarion, a tabloid revelling in the sensationalist, basking in the bizarre and churning out headline upon headline of alarmist anti-immigration claptrap. But when editorial decisions are made by a megalomaniac in a helmet, horn in hand and with about as much respect as a selfie at a funeral, what, really, do you expect?

The drama takes us straight inside the news room, and lays out before us the worrying array of ludicrous caricatures that make up the Clarion journalism and editorial team. An image completed by succinctly apt scenery and sound, the play is brought to life through marvellous characterisation, Mark Jagasia’s precise descriptions embodied with a full compliment of excellent acting performances.

As former Fleet Street battle axe Verity Stokes, Clare Higgins is perfectly pitched, hardened by experience yet mildly maternal as the pseudo-matriarch of the piece. With a dichotomous personality and a mysterious fall from grace under her belt, Verity is, by far and away, the most interesting and complex character, explored with relish by an experienced actress. At the other end of the complexity spectrum, Greg Hicks’ editor, Morris Honeyspoon, is so deliciously, irredeemably vile that it’s just a joy to behold. Indiscriminate with his discrimination, you could add an “-ist” to any word to describe Honeyspoon – but his depiction is so severe it would be impossible to mistake his opinions for sensible argument.

Clarion2 Mark Jagasia’s script is outstanding, dense with topical imagery layered in a way that means even on your fourth visit, new things will jump out. But what’ll stay with you, even more than Jagasia’s way with words, is the knowledge of his experience at the Evening Standard and Daily Express; no matter how hard you try, you just can’t help but wonder what realities have inspired his glorious piece of fiction.

A hilariously scathing dressing down of the tabloid press, Clarion considers the need for veracity in news reporting, and looks at what just might happen when events bastardised into headlines begin to have real life consequences. Where stories are currency and celebrity dogs breaking news, The Daily Clarion is a publication with distressing similarities to titles now on sale at every newsagent across the country, and it couldn’t have have come at a more perfect time.

For tickets and information:
Venue: Arcola Theatre
Dates: 15th April – 16th May 2015
Images: Simon Annand

Star Rating

Ginger Hibiscus don’t like using stars as a headline; we think they’re too reductionist, and that decision-making based on stars misses the point of a review. Just as you wouldn’t judge a personality using a five-point scale, theatre is multi-dimensional. So have a read, and then look at the stars afterwards.
Okay, fine, but how many stars do you give it? Click here