Previewed 12 October 1999, Opened 14 October 1999, Closed 20 November 1999 at the Ambassadors Theatre in London
Out of Joint present Mark Ravenhill's new play Some Explicit Polaroids in London for a strictly limited season
Welcome to the Scandal Cafe. Wars are fought. People get ill. Shit happens. But it all makes for a good photo opportunity. Back in the eighties, Nick knew the score. But now it's the end of the 20th century and there's a three-lane pile-up on the Road Less Travelled. Nadia's learning to love her inner child. Tim's taking happy pills. Victor's just crazy for disco-trash. Capitalist-bastard Jonathan seems to be saving the world. And even Helen, Nick's old class-warrior soulmate, has sold out, grown up, and got nice clothes. If I'm okay and you're okay, then where's the happy ending?
The cast features Russell Barr as 'Tim', Nick Dunning as 'Nick', Fritha Goodey as 'Nadia', Sally Rogers as 'Helen', David Sibley as 'Jonathan' and Matthew Wait and 'Victor'. Directed by Max Stafford-Clark with designs by Julian McGowan, lighting by Johanna Town and sound by Paul Arditti. This production was originally scheduled to preview from 1 September 1999, open on 6 September 1999 and close on 9 October 1999 - but it was swapped around with Drummers.
"This is the latest from Mark Ravenhill, the author who gave the West End its most controversial play of the decade, Shopping and F***ing... This play is flawed but still fascinating and with a similarly brilliant title. It's funnier too. For comparisons think of Galton and Simpson, Joe Orton and David Hare all on designer drugs. Two gay men - a Glaswegian and a Russian good-time boy addicted to trash culture - a Labour councillor and an ex-con, a lap dancer and a pinstriped capitalist meet in a variety of short, jabby scenes on the theme of loneliness. Max Stafford-Clark directs the chaos with video backdrops and blasts of techno music. On the shock side, the evening featuressome sexually provocative scenes. The cast is a good one... I don't think this is an important play. But Ravenhill is the poet for the off-message, off-your-face, Britain that's gone kaput." The Daily Express
"If Shopping and F***ing was at root an earnest, didactic piece, his latest effort at the New Ambassadors Theatre in London is more openly so. Its inscrutable title scarcely prepares one for the return of a dramatic genre long out of fashion... Mainly Mark Ravenhill contrasts the feel of the early 1980s with that of the late 1990s... Together, Ravenhill's play and Max Stafford-Clark's simple, pacey production come across as a nostalgic lament for the end of the class struggle and the triumph of the "chaos" of the market. The objections are obvious. Are people so utterly defined by their economic circumstances? Can anyone now sanely see capitalism as the root cause of human misery? Don't characters who spout lines such as "I've cut bits out of myself, another belief, another dream" smack more of the podium than the living-room? Ravenhill may have sharp things to say about 1999, but the agitprop drama of 20 years ago has shaped him more than he knows." The Times
"The characters in Mark Ravenhill's Some Explicit Polaroids are not the only ones to come face to face with the past - the audience does so too. It was some time before I realised, with a jolt, that I was watching a piece of political theatre - a rare beast on the stage these days. The play even employs dialectic, as two opposing life views conflict and then come to a sort of resolution. Amazing. All praise to Ravenhill and to the director Max Stafford-Clark for keeping the flame burning. But this being Ravenhill, this is not political theatre as we know it, or rather, as we knew it. Ravenhill's first play was Shopping and F***ing, an alarming account of the sex, drugs and fast food that made up the lives of a group of contemporary twentysome-things. In his new play, he grapples with values and social responsibility, but he does so using the same provocative, flamboyant and wickedly funny style. His play is laudably ambitious, pulsates with energy and can be very funny, but his style also severely limits what he is able to say." The Financial Times
Some Explicit Polaroids in London at the Ambassadors Theatre previewed from 12 October 1999, opened on 14 October 1999 and closed on 20 November 1999