Although his mainstream career has recently included majorwork for the RSC and the National, the five new pieces collected here show just how close playwright and director Neil Bartlett has stayed to the radical queer cultural roots that first brought him to prominence in the early 1980s. Commissioned to be performed in spaces as various as South London’s notorious Vauxhall Tavern, Brighton’s Theatre Royal and the pulpit of Westminster Abbey, these hit-and-run dramatic monologues bring all of his trademark wit and passion to bear on the issues that run throughout his work – the power of love, and the necessity for anger. Together, they make up a trenchantly personal take on what it feels like to have spent nearly thirty years standing up and speaking one’s mind.
The collection also includes his 2011 adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Remarkable Rocket, which uses the diamond-sharp text of one of Wilde’s children’s stories as the springboard for a haunting meditation on the enduring power of Wilde to inspire, dazzle and move. A follow on from his earlier collection Solo Voices, this new collection is vivid, fierce and tender, with five provocative and highly actable new works from one of British theatre’s most idiosyncratic voices.