Author: Matilda Payne

‘The Red Turtle’ and ‘S-Town’: When Men Live as Islands

It is fairly likely that anyone reading this who is familiar with either the animated film The Red Turtle or the podcast S-Town might not initially think that these two narratives have anything in common. One features a seemingly dead turtle transforming into a woman, which is about as wildly fictional as you can get, while the other is an open and searching portrayal of a real man’s life, tragically cut short by his own hand. But in a way both stories are centred around castaways – one literally and one figuratively; men who live apart from society, whether that’s by choice or by circumstance, but still...

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Footloose the Musical: Stuck in the 80s

Footloose the Musical can be summarised in one memorable image: an oiled up Gareth Gates stood on top of a car, gyrating into the air with little else on but a pair of golden short shorts. Tennessee Williams, this is not. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with a piece of theatre being a little fun and frivolous; the hordes of middle-aged women in the crowd certainly seemed to be having a splendid time. It’s a production which seems to take a great deal of delight in bringing to life some of the cheesiest aspects of the eighties,...

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‘Britney Spears the Cabaret’: Celebrity, Religion, and Humanising a Fallen Idol

Once upon a time humanity worshipped a collection of gods who were beautiful and often petty, who acted out on a grand stage the best and worst of human behaviour. Tales about them feature the age old themes of lust, pride and revenge. I’m referring, of course, to The Greek Pantheon but this is a description which could quite easily also fit modern celebrity culture. It has become a truism that modern religion has been on the decline in the West, with one study published earlier this year showing almost half of the UK are now atheists.[1] This doesn’t,...

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‘An Injury’ at the Ovalhouse: Consumerism and Complicity

Anyone who has spent any length of time on the internet in the past few years is highly likely to have come across the phrase “there is no ethical consumption under capitalism”. This is usually accompanied by some terrifying graphic which show dozens of smaller brands that are all in fact subsidiaries of some behemoth like Nestlé or Coca Cola. The idea is that essentially, no matter how much you try to avoid the big bad wolves of consumerism – those companies pouring oil into the ocean or ripping out the rainforest – you end up lining their pockets...

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