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Review: Pornography at The Nottingham New Theatre

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

A state-of-the-nation play that challenges our perception of modern Britain- disturbing, unexpected and unmissable.


Greeted with a sparse set and actors in stasis, standing inside the body of a London tube carriage, the production begins as it means to go on. With focus upon the lives of various British nationals, what begins as a seemingly everyday portrayal of British lives turns out to be far deeper and much more twisted. Each of the individuals portrayed are unable to improve their lives: we observe a Britain in which each and every individual is in stasis, unhappy and in contrast to the national identity that the country attempts to portray (for example as was depicted during the London Olympics in 2012, an event which is focused upon within the play, set in 2005 when the successful bid for the Olympics was announced). 

This contrast between the image of ourselves we wish to portray and the differing reality, arguably a universal concept, is expressed further by the revealing of the individuals’ perturbing secrets throughout the play, often suddenly and to the surprise of many audience members. Whether through a physical movement which reveals their true intentions, for example in the case of Mark (Peter Pryzslo) whose plans for his former pupil Sarah (Chloe Rose Grant) are far from innocent, or verbally in the case of Kat (Charlotte Sanders) who lets some disturbing opinions slip to her brother James (Max Miller), whom she later starts an incestuous relationship with, about how molesting a child might feel good.

This production is set to shock: be prepared for violence, swearing, smoking on stage, depictions of sexual abuse, sex itself and detailed descriptions of pornography. It’s not a comfortable watch, but it certainly gets you thinking. Whilst various elements of this production, directed by Ollie Shortt, are impressive- from the incredible lighting to the concept of layering stories on stage by keeping individuals sat in silence during other character’s monologues- the most impressive thing has to be the quality of the acting. To call it anything other than flawless would be an understatement.

I would like to give Anna Stubbs a special mention for her portrayal of Rose, an old lady who watches porn in her husband’s silk gown with the curtains open, excited by the thought that her neighbours might be watching her. Not only is her acting shockingly convincing (I thought that Rose’s accent was Stubbs’ own) but also hilariously funny and charming. And whilst Rose has to be my favourite character, this ability to create character so faultlessly was something that all the actors were able to achieve and something which made this production so remarkable.

The climatic end to the play, which focused upon the 7/7 London bombings where 52 people were killed, was a claustrophobic, menacing and incredibly powerful image to leave the production with. With the help of the lighting which shone through the metal cage of the tube carriage and illuminated not only the bomber but those killed during the bombings, it placed the audience at the heart of the action, taking us back to that very day which I’m sure most of us will remember (I know I certainly do). Overall, a wonderful thought-provoking production that mixes humour and ‘awfulness’, produced and acted perfectly, set to interest anyone concerned with the state of Britain today.

Pornography runs until October 31st at The Nottingham New Theatre.

For more information on the production and The Nottingham New Theatre’s upcoming season:



Edited by Naomi Upton

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3rd year BA English student at The University of Nottingham (UK), Reviews Editor for Her Campus Nottingham.
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Naomi Upton


Naomi is a third year English student at Nottingham University and Co-Editor in Chief of HC Nottingham. Naomi would love a career in journalism or marketing but for now she spends her time beauty blogging, attempting to master the delicate art of Pinterest, being an all-black-outfit aficionado, wasting time on Buzzfeed, going places, taking pictures and staying groovy.