Review: Shopping and F***ing at The Nottingham New Theatre


I’m going to be brutally honest – the only reason I wanted to see Shopping and F***king was because of the title and it’s (probably) why you’re reading this.

Waiting in the foyer, I couldn’t decide on what drink to get. I opted for a double gin and tonic. I’m so glad I did.

Mark Ravenhill’s notorious Shopping and F***king was a prime example of British in-yer-face theatre and a play that became world-famous purely because of its title. A shocking observation of a dysfunctional society, dehumanised youth and the corrupting power of money, the play revolves around consumerism and how it supersedes all other moral codes. Everything including sex, drugs and violence are available via a mere transaction - no strings attached.

With prostitution, porn and oral sex (in a department store), Shopping and F***king is a play you won’t be disappointed with.

Despite its black humour, the play is by no means a comedy. One minute I found myself laughing, the next I felt incredibly uncomfortable - particularly during a jaw clenching interview scene. It’s intense.

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect was the cast - they were all fantastic, putting on brave faces for some of the most knuckle-biting scenes. Their depiction of a fallen generation was funny and empathetic all at once.

Also, they all shout REALLY loud.

Mark (Charlie Jamieson) is a recovering ‘junkie’ that meets 14-year-old prostitute Gary (Ted Marriot) who has violent sexual fantasies about bondage porn because his stepfather raped him; this is reminiscent of Sadean philosophy. Whilst a homosexual bond develops between these two men, the play depicts unemployed ecstasy pushers Robbie (Cameron Walker) and Lulu (Lara Cowler) attempting to make a living via phone sex. Brian (Duncan McGillivray) is a callous figure obsessed with ‘transactions’ who dictates to everyone that ‘civilisation is money’ - but the audience have seen anarchy as opposed to civilisation. Money is the route of all evil.

Despite its idiosyncrasies and erratic behaviour, Shopping and F***king is a cyclical play brimming with hope. Despite ready meals being ‘individually’ packaged for one, Lulu and Robbie share their food with Mark in the final scene. It’s a small gesture - but it speaks a thousand words for humanity.

If you like The Lion King and goodie bags (not kidding) then go and see this play.

Then have another gin and tonic.


For more information on the production and how to buy tickets:


Edited by Georgina Varley

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