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“An examination of modern british masculinity”

Two Destination Language’s devised piece, Manpower, might have started life in 2016 as an examination of masculinity, but it says just as much about modern Britain and Brexit.

In a series of lectures, Katherina Radeva plays a possibly predatory Bulgarian and Alister Lownie as an oh-so moderate English man. In this way they explore the perceived roles of men and work since the mid-1970s.

Lownie sets the tone for his character with a purposefully tedious speech on the necessity of getting the proper hi-fi equipment. From then on his role is reduced to that of a DJ, spinning records to accompany Radeva, and a handyman, erecting a garden shed and then building a wall with the logs and wooden branches that are strewn around the stage.

Radeva’s monologues provide a deeply cynical and darkly hilarious take on British masculinity since the time of Thatcher. She pointedly twists perspective, talking of men as passive creatures, hipsters: a “problem”.

The building of a wall is a bit too pat a visual metaphor for the wall which Britain is building around itself. In this regard it’s a bit underwhelming. Yet in the light of the Kavanaugh hearing, it takes on a new resonance – it feels like a representation of the wall that powerful and predatory men have always built to protect themselves and their view of the world.

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Production Details
Production nameManpower
VenueTraverse Theatre
StartsSeptember 26, 2018
EndsSeptember 27, 2018, then touring
Running time1hr 5mins
DirectorAlister Lownie, Katherina Radeva
Set designerAlister Lownie, Katherina Radeva
Lighting designerVince Field
CastAlister Lownie, Katherina Radeva
ProducerTwo Destination Language
VerdictSharp and darkly humorous examination of modern British masculinity
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Thom Dibdin

Thom Dibdin

Thom Dibdin

Thom Dibdin

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