I don’t recall having a reaction to a production quite this strong in a while. I have tried to articulate what I found so unpalatable about Anthony Neilson’s current show at the Royal Court over on the Guardian's arts blog. I’m not wild about the headline, but then I did make use of the c-word (compassion), so I can hardly complain. It’s also worth mentioning that I hadn’t read Neilson’s response to Michael Billington’s one star review when I wrote it, as I filed my post the day before.
I do wonder if it’s an intellectual failing on my part that I let my emotional response to the play dominate. But then the fact that I had such a strong, near physical, reaction to the production is testament in a way to its success (on some levels at least). However I just couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something cheap and opportunistic about including such overt references to the Fritzl case – something Neilson was able to do given his particular habit of up-to-the-minute rewriting - though again I think this may say more about my oversensitivity; few people, bar Billington, appear to have found this as problematic as I did. It’s not that I felt it was distasteful (oh, OK, maybe I did a bit) but that it felt as if it had been included simply because it happened and he could.
Curiously, as anyone who has been stuck in a tipsy top-ten films type conversation with me will know, I rank Nic Roeg’s Don’t Look Know as one of my favourite films and am rather partial to a bit of J-horror, particularly Hideo Nakata's Dark Water. Relocated shares much with both these films, indeed part of me revelled in the way the production seemed able to tap into so many cinematic worlds while retaining its own sense of identity. But there was something at the heart of this production I found repellent and I couldn’t get past that. It crossed, or rather removed, some necessary line. It leaked into the real world like a girl with long dark hair crawling through a television screen.