Mark Ravenhill’s satirical and ferocious monologue Product interrogates the media’s response to terrorism, exploring society’s desperate need for a narrative and its insistence on finding closure.
Olivia Poulet (The Thick of It and In The Loop) once again packs a powerful punch playing Leah in this first revival.
Product tells the story of a producer, pitching a dire script about a 9/11 widow who falls in love with a Muslim suicide bomber – a beautiful wounded man, a dark stranger, a sublime passion, a nightmare and a suicide pact.
Ravenhill’s perfectly observed satire of Hollywood’s worst clichés spikily undercuts the producer’s sycophantic pitch. Olivia Poulet as Leah smothers the imagined actor, Julia, with false flattery.
Posh, poised and luvvie-ish, she conveys both the monstrousness and the fragility of Leah, whose smooth patter, easy sycophancy and asides like ‘we’ve got Gucci onboard’, ‘we’ve got Versace onboard’ belie the fact she is obviously terrified of this pitch failing (Time Out).
It’s a brilliant premise, and Ravenhill’s play is a gleeful send-up of the hypocrisy and artificial dream-building of the Hollywood machine (The Telegraph). Product is Ravenhill versus Hollywood with torrid scenes of passion across the spectre of international terrorism.
Olivia Poulet says ‘I’m excited to be working with Inside Intelligence again, reprising the role of Leah in Robert Shaw’s brilliant revival of Mark Ravenhill’s Product.’
Inside Intelligence was founded by Robert Shaw in May 1995 and, this year, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Shaw says ‘We’ve always been about doing theatre and contemporary opera. In this anniversary year, I’m thrilled to say we get to do both – the first revival of Mark Ravenhill’s coruscating satire Product starring the inextinguishable Olivia Poulet and, in August, we’re truly privileged to premiere Tarik O’Regan’s extraordinary new opera The Wanton Sublime’.
Product by Mark Ravenhill
Monday 27th April – Saturday 23rd May 2015, 8pm Saturday matinees at 3.30pm
No performances on Sundays
Running time 50 minutes
Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London E8 3DL
020 7503 1646
Box Office Tickets are available from www.arcolatheatre.com and on 020 7503 1646