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Live Art Alive: Jubilee Review

November 18th, 2017

jubilee17gThe interior walls of the Royal Exchange Theatre are densely covered in graffiti. The music is ramped up – this is not Royal Exchange noise levels – this is JUBILEE. The stage is set with Toyah Willcox at her dressing table as Queen Elisabeth I regally pondering the future.

This is 40 years on from her anarchic role as Mads in the original Derek Jarman film. Having seen the original as a young teenager and promptly calling one of the family cats kittens after Toyah this feels like time travel for more than just Elisabeth I. Looking around the actual Royal Exchange  theatre it feels like we could be in a time travel machine. I half expected Amyl Nitrate and her girl gang to seal in the audience with barbed wire and Union Jack flag poles.

This adaptation by Chris Goode is faithful to the original film. The production is brought up to date by references to Cameron, Trump, Brexit and music tracks like Bad Girls by M.I.A but it maintains Jarman’s messy, anarchic “have a go” punk ethic.

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